Bafana trio Khune, Jali and Grobler nursing knocks ahead of World Cup qualifier with Burkina Faso
Posted: 2 October 2017 Time: 16:30
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune will captain Bafana Bafana against Burkina Faso provided he shakes off a shoulder injury in time for Saturday's World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium.
Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is without regular skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo due to a knee injury, as well as fellow centre-back Erick Mathoho through suspension.
The Brit has called up Cape Town City's Robyn Johannes and Mamelodi Sundowns' Motjeka Madisha as replacements for the must-win encounter in Johannesburg.
Besides Khune, Oostende midfielder Andile Jali (shoulder) and SuperSport United striker Bradley Grobler (groin) are nursing knocks and will be assessed in the lead up to the game.
In other squad news, Holland-based playmaker Thulani Serero is due to join the Bafana camp tonight, while forwards Dino Ndlovu and Lebogang Manyama are expected to arrive from Azerbaijan and Turkey respectively on Tuesday.
Baxter expects his men to respond from back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde, which left South Africa at the bottom of Group D with a point from three matches - five points shy of Cape Verde and the Burkinabe. Senegal have five points.
Baxter said: “The biggest problem for the players will have in this camp is that they have under-achieved in these two past games against Cape Verde. We have been massively criticised but now we have to move on and believe. We have to address the issue of self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem – all those selves, and if we can’t do that we won’t give a performance against Burkina Faso, and if that happens then we won’t win. That’s where my focus is at the moment because this is a massive game.
“We have to go out there and rectify things, but without confidence I don’t think we can to that. They are the best team in the group, they were very competitive against Senegal – in fact they were closer to winning than Senegal was. They are a powerful team, they are physical, they have certain players with very good qualities and we have to shut that down. So when you don’t perform the way you want to perform, the first thing that goes is confidence, so we will need people who will work hard, that are brave and believe that we have a chance. The performance has to give us hope that things are getting better, that’s the challenge the players have despite all the injuries – they have to stand up now.”
Meanwhile, the proposed friendly match after the Burkina Faso clash has been called off.