Bafana rocked by more withdrawals
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund must be wondering what else will go wrong this time, following the withdrawal of two more players from his squad to face Nigerian in the Nelson Mandela Challenge on Wednesday at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
As the team assembled for camp in Johannesburg on Sunday night, Igesund informed the travelling party that the SuperSport United duo of Bennett Chenene and Innocent Mdledle are out due to injury. Igesund has opted to replace only one player (Mdledle) with Marc van Heerden. Chenene had been called up as a replacement following more withdrawals last week.
Bafana are expected in Durban late on Monday morning and will have some social responsibility activities to attend to before getting down to match preparations.
Just last week, the Bafana coach was forced to withdraw six players from Orlando Pirates to allow them time to prepare for their Caf Champions League clash against Egyptian club Zamalek on August 17.
Last month Igesund had to overhaul his initial squad following the massive withdrawal of key players, with clubs saying their players "were not horses" and needed to rest before the start of the season. Ironically, the same players were featured extensively in pre-season friendly matches.
The Nigeria game is part of the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge but Igesund will also use the match as part of his preparation for the crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier against Botswana next month.
After Nigeria, Bafana will fly back to Johannesburg on Thursday to continue preparations for the clash against Burkina Faso. The match will be played at the FNB Stadium as part of the Mandela Sport and Culture Day.
Nigeria themselves have also had a few withdrawals in Kenneth Omeruo from Chelsea and Emmanuel Emenike. Omeruo is out injured while Emenike could not join the Mandela Challenge party as he has recently completed a move to Turkey.
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands
Defenders: Tshepo Gumede, Thabo Nthethe, Anele Ngcongca, Bevan Fransman, Erick Mathoho, Tsepo Masilela, Siboniso Gaxa, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo
Midfielders: Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Dean Furman, Hlompho Kekana, Bongani Zungu, Thuso Phala, David Mathebula, Lerato Chabangu
Forwards: Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Lebogang Manyama, Luyolo Nomandela