Tau withdraws from Bafana squad ahead of friendlies

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Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams says the team must maintain some consistency leading up to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January. Bafana Bafana have four matches already lined up between this week and November, ahead of the AFCON tournament.

First, they come up against Eswatini in an international friendly match before travelling to Ivory Coast for their next friendly next Tuesday. Bafana Bafana have suffered one more withdrawal for the two forthcoming friendlies. Star player Percy Tau has withdrawn from the team due to family reasons.

Also unavailable for the two friendly internationals are two defenders, Thapelo Morena and Innocent Maela, as well as midfielder Bathusi Aubaas. But all 11 players from Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates who featured in the MTN8 final on Saturday evening are available for selection.

“Unfortunately, this camp is also affected by injuries due to withdrawals. With Thapelo Maseko is different, we were told he was injured but we were surprised when he played for his team. Percy Tau we had contact with him last week, he’s likely not to make it but I’m not amused,” says Hugo Broos, Bafana Bafana coach.

Sundowns defender Mthobi Mvala and Pirates defender Nkosinathi Sibisi have both been cleared after a clash of heads in the MTN8 final.

“I’m happy that Sibisi is not a problem. It was a small head injury; he had a concussion. Grant Kekana is also okay, he had an MRI scan and he has been cleared,” Broos added.

The players have pleaded for consistency leading up to the AFCON tournament. In two friendlies last month, Bafana drew with Namibia before narrowly beating the Democratic Republic of Congo by a solitary goal.

“The need to maintain the current consistency of getting positive results. Bafana Bafana have not lost a match in more than a year. the last game we lost as a team was away to Morocco in the AFCON qualifier,” says Williams.

Williams says they will be following the final AFCON draw to be held in the Ivory Coast with keen interest.

“The draw will be a difficult one considering that all the participating countries have qualified on merit. There’s no longer an easy game in international football because almost all the countries have now established strong professional leagues” Williams added.

The first international friendly against Eswatini will be played at the FNB Stadium on Friday evening and kick-off is at six o’clock. The team will then leave for Abidjan on Saturday for Tuesday’s friendly against the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations hosts.