Former SuperSport United striker Dino Ndlovu has been withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana squad to face Cameroon in back-to-back 2017 Gabon Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers due to an injury. Ndlovu injured his left knee in his club’s match over the weekend and was assessed by the national team’s medico, Dr Thulani Ngwenya on Monday when we arrived for camp. He was subsequently ruled out of the upcoming clashes.
South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba says: ‘It is always a blow when we lose a player that we have called up into the national team, but having said that we have to forge ahead. We would have loved to have him with us, but it is just unfortunate, injuries are part of the game. We can only wish him a speedy recovery. We are still working on the replacement as we definitely need someone in that position because goals are of paramount importance in the two matches.’ Other injury concerns in the squad are of Belgium-based midfielder Andile Jali who has dislocated his shoulder; France-based defender Anele Ngcongca is nursing an abdominal muscle strain, while Orlando Pirates defender Thabo Matlaba has injured his toe. Ngwenya says: ‘Fortunately the injuries to the trio are manageble so we will be able to deal with them during our camp. I am confident by the time we play our match they will be ready.’
Other than Ndlovu, all the players were expected in camp by tonight (Monday, 21 March) except for the Mamelodi Sundowns players – Hlompho Kekana, Asavela Mbekile and Themba Zwane – who were out of the country on CAF duties. They are expected to report for national team duty only on Tuesday (22 March). Mashaba says: ‘Late coming has always been in the national team long before my time and this is due to the fact that we have players at different clubs, from different countries with different programmes. Yes it does affect the training programme of the national team but we have to do the best we can. All we can only only hope for is that they don’t arrive injured.’
The South Africans will have their first training session on Monday at the UJ Stadium, Soweto Campus. Meanwhile Bafana Bafana will now fly out to Doula, Cameroon on Thursday, 24 March instead of a day before as initally planned. Bafana Bafana and the Indomitable Lions face off on Saturday at Stade Omnisport de Limbe in Limbe, Cameroon. Kick off for that clash is at 15:30 local time (16:30 South African time).
The return leg will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday, 29 March. Kick off is at 19:00.
Photo credit: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images