Bafana coach Stuart Baxter wary of risking Thulani Hlatshwayo and Itumeleng Khune against Senegal
Posted: 9 November 2017 Time: 12:26
Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo is unlikely to feature in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Friday.
Hlatshwayo’s had a problem with a bruised toe this week and could be up for a late fitness test tonight to see if he can play against the Lions of Teranga.
The Bidvest Wits skipper missed the last World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso with an injury and looks set to sit out again.
Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, however, has enough options in central defence.
“‘Tyson’ looks like he is going to struggle for this one and we are not going to take any chances. I think we need to be sure that we won’t have a player that will come off after five minutes. We are doubtful at this point he will take part.
“I don’t want to rule him out, but he is doubtful. I could gamble with him, but it would be a bit of a gamble. I would say it’s very unlikely.”
Baxter is more hopeful with goalkeeper Khune, who joined the squad on Wednesday morning after seeing two specialists for the broken bones in his face.
Khune trained with a mask, but Baxter says he will not take the risk if the Kaizer Chiefs man does not feel he is ready to play.
“With Itu we are more hopeful. He trained yesterday with the ball in the morning without any sort of diving around, just hand-eye coordination and a few visual exercises. In the afternoon we put him in between the sticks and there was a shooting drill, he felt quite good. He wore a mask. We are adjusting it slightly to try make it better for him.
“If we are not sure Itu is comfortable to give a performance, we will not risk him. I think it’s important that he feels he can give a performance. He is a mature player and I don’t think he would tell us if he’s fit when he’s not. But we are more hopeful. Does that mean he is certain to play? No it isn’t. A late fitness test will decide.”
Bafana will have one more training session at Peter Mokaba Stadium, before the game tomorrow night.