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Football | Bafana Bafana

Ricardo Nunes © Gallo Images

Dikgacoi, Masilela out; Nunes returns

Midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi and defender Tsepo Masilela have been withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana squad that will play in the upcoming international friendly match (Lesotho) and two Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers (Central African Republic and Ethiopia).

Dikgacoi tore his calf muscle ligaments when his club Crystal Palace defeated Watford one nil in the English Championship play-off final on Monday. He was carried off early in the first half.

The match was played at the Wembley Stadium, and the victory means Palace will play in the English Premiership next season.

Masilela was withdrawn due to a planned operation on his knee which has troubled him all season. He was part of the team that defeated Supersport United in the final of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Slovakia-based Ricardo Nunes will replace Masilela and is expected in camp on Wednesday with the rest of the squad.

“We have really had some bad luck with defenders lately missing out due to injury, this is really a big blow for us in that department. Already, we are without Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Thabo Matlaba, and now Masilela. Siyanda Xulu recently returned from an injury, but they say when one door closes the other opens, so I believe this is a chance for the players in the squad to raise their hands and also help their country through these difficult times,” said Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund.

“I am very happy for KG for the promotion to the English Premier League, but it is just unfortunate he won’t be with us. He is a good player and I believe he deserves to be playing at the highest level which will in turn help Bafana Bafana.”

There is no replacement yet for Dikgacoi.

“We are hoping for a speedy recovery for him. I still have to apply my mind as to whether to call in a replacement, but if I do it will be a player based locally. For now I want to sleep over it as I don’t want to make any quick decisions,” added Igesund.


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