Mokotjo downplays midfield crisis


Bafana have suffered four injury blows within the first 48 hours of assembling for their all-important Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya this weekend.

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France-based duo Lebogang Mothiba and Bongani Zungu, as well as Mamelodi Sundowns pair Themba Zwane and Hlompho Kekana have all been withdrawn due to an assortment of injuries.

Coach Stuart Baxter has since named local-based replacements due to time constraints, with Tiyani Mabunda, Aubrey Modiba, Vincent Pule and Mxolisi Macuphu having joined the camp in Durban.

Perhaps a particular point of concern will come in central midfield, where the experience and quality of Zungu and Kekana will be hard to replace.

However, Mokotjo – who is likely to start alongside Dean Furman and possibly Mabunda – insists the entire team will have to pull their weight and has called on the replacements to make their presence felt.

"I believe games are won everywhere [on the pitch]. Everyone is responsible for their tasks," Mokotjo emphasised.

"So, what happens is that we have players who have been called in before and it's just that they need to step up. It's as simple as that, I think."

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With South Africa currently joint-top of the log with The Mediterranean Knights, the Brentford star has stressed the importance of getting maximum points on home soil as they look towards taking control of Group E.

"It's a very important game, this qualifier. So we need to get the maximum result. It's a good thing that we're playing at home and I think the boys are all in a positive mood for the game coming up," he added.

The round two clash is set to take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, with kick-off scheduled for 15h00.

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The group's corresponding fixture will see Seychelles host Nigeria – both of whom are pointless after one game each – on the same day, with kick-off at the Stade Linite in Victoria set for 14h30 (SA time).