'It was brave to play Khune'
Posted: 13 November 2017 Time: 08:40
SAFA medic Dr Thulani Ngwenya says he faced one of the toughest decisions of his career in deciding whether to clear Itumeleng Khune fit for duty in the 2-0 loss to Senegal on Friday.
Khune suffered a facial fracture when representing Kaizer Chiefs in a Telkom Knockout clash with Chippa United five days earlier, casting in doubt his availability for the must-win international in Polokwane.
The 30-year-old went on to play against the Teranga Lions with a protective mask on at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Ngwenya said: “It was one of the most difficult cases that I have come across in my career. But in the end, we did our best as a team and it paid off.
“I would have been damned had Itu aggravated his injury and would have been damned had I decided not to play him. In end, it was a brave and correct call that we made a last-minute decision to field him and it all went well.
“I would like to also give credit to the team physiotherapist and masseur for their professionalism and diligent work in making sure the player was fit to play.”
Ngwenya said the decision was made that much more delicate when pictures of Khune training with the rest of the team went public.
“But once we got scans from his club our main focus for the rest of the week was to make him ready for the game. We slowly integrated him into the team and the player responded positively.
“We, however, had to make the final call on his inclusion into the team at the very last minute because every decision was very critical.”
Bafana will end their failed World Cup qualifying campaign with a rematch against the Group D winners in Dakar on Tuesday.