Bafana Bafana in deep injury crisis


Newly appointed head coach of South Africa's national football team "Bafana Bafana", Stuart Baxter, gives a press briefing at the South African Football Association (SAFA) House in Johannesburg on May 15, 2017.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter remained upbeat for Friday’s all-important FIFA World Cup qualifier against Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium as his charges got down to business in sweltering Limpopo heat.

Veteran Siphiwe Tshabalala and Thulani Hlatshwayo were pulled off later during the morning session as a precautionary move.

READ: Crunch time for Bafana ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Tshabalala sustained a minor hip injury during Kaizer Chiefs’ win over Chippa United in a Telkom Knockout match while captain Hlatshwayo seems to have recovered from his troublesome foot injury.

“We gave them a small rest just as a precaution but it is nothing serious. Both are fine and should be available for the final selection for the match on Friday,” said coach Baxter.

While the coach has called up Tiyani Mabunda, there are possibilities that midfielder Hlompho Kekana might return to camp if he feels fine following bereavement in his family on Monday.

Coach Baxter left the door open for Kekana to make a decision on whether he wants to return to camp or remain with his family during the bereavement.

That will mean that Mabunda will take the place left open by the absence of Thulani Serero who has told the team management that he will not join the team for Senegal games.

READ: Baxter’s midfield headache worsens after Serero snub

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is expected to be travelling to Polokwane this evening where he will further be assessed by the team doctor, Dr Thulani Ngwenya.

Khune suffered a facial fracture during Sunday’s match against Chippa United but Ngwenya has always insisted that the team was hopeful that the influential keeper will form part of the squad for Friday.

All overseas players arrived on Tuesday, including Keagan Dolly, Andile Jali and Lebogang Manyama.