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Football | Bafana Bafana

Thabo Nthethe (R) and Kagisho Dikgacoi © Backpagepix

Nthethe laments Sangweni blow



Thabo Nthethe has admitted that the loss of centre-back Siyabonga Sangweni for Bafana Bafana is a blow, but believes there is enough defensive cover in the team ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Central African Republic in Cape Town on Saturday.

Sangweni was forced out of the squad through injury, joining Kaizer Chiefs left-back Tsepo Masilela on the sidelines.

It leaves coach Gordon Igesund with a big decision to make as to his centre-back pairing, with another AmaKhosi player, Erick Mathoho, called-up to replace Sangweni.

Morgan Gould is almost certain to start, but Igesund must decide between Nthethe, Mathoho, the inexperienced Siyanda Xulu and possibly even regular right-back Anele Ngcongca as to who will partner him.

The latter has spent some time in central defence for his Belgian side Genk this season and been praised for his performance.

“To lose a player like Siyabonga Sangweni is a blow, everybody knows that he is a good player and he did very well at the Africa Cup of Nations,” Nthethe says. “But any player that is called-up deserves to be here and we believe the coach will make the right decision.

“We need to not lose focus after losing a player or two. We just have to make sure we do our best for the country.”

Bloemfontein Celtic skipper Nthethe was part of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad for South Africa, but did not feature in any matches. He has previously featured for the side at right-back as well.

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