Khune cools injury concerns

Posted: 7 September 2018 Time: 08:53 am

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune feels it is critical the national team takes care of business at home in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

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The Libya national team is in Mzansi and set to face Bafana on Saturday at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium in the second match of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers (15h00 kick-off).

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South Africa opened Group E on the front foot in June last year by beating Nigeria 2-0 in Uyo with goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau in what Stuart Baxter's first game on his return to the Bafana hotseat.

At the same time Libya, whose sole title triumph came when they won the CHAN championship in SA in 2014, took control of the pool by defeating Seychelles 5-1.

With both sides on three points, tomorrow's encounter is expected to be a physical and tense contest as the nations look to bolster their bid to compete at next year's continental showpiece in Cameroon.

Khune, the most experienced player in the Bafana squad with 87 caps, respects the Mediterranean Knights but is determined to send the North Africans home empty-handed.

"To be quite honest they're a great team and we cannot go into this game underestimating them," Khune said before a training session at the match venue on Thursday

"They might surprise us but it's important, like I said, to follow the coach's instruction and do everything that has been prepared here at training in order for us to win against them.

"But they're coming to South Africa and we can't afford to lose in any matches when we are playing at home, so it's important that we go for the win and the clean sheet."

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Khune, who was applauded for playing with a face mask due to an injury against Senegal in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, is carrying another knock, albeit a minor one.

The Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper hurt his wrist in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-finals against SuperSport United in Tshwane on August 26. He missed a 2-2 league draw with Bloemfontein Celtic but made his return in the rematch with Matsatsantsa last weekend.

"Right now with my health I'm fine, it is just a niggling injury that I suffered against SuperSport in the first leg," he said.

"But the doctors are doing a great job in managing it and I'm also a 24-hour pro so whenever I get to the room I ask for ice and I keep icing it.

"I take medication for it so I'm feeling much better. But I can safely say that it would be the first time in a long time that I come to camp and go into a match without any niggling injuries.

"It is not something I could potentially see [will make] me miss the game ... I've been training since the day we got here [on Monday] to camp and I'm enjoying each and every session we've having."

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Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala

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