Johannesburg - Morale was low in the South African football national team Bafana Bafana camp this week ahead of their crucial international friendly match against Mali as chances were slim for some of the top players to make it onto the pitch due to injuries.
Although by Tuesday evening all the players had arrived in camp following the arrival of Percy Tau and Kamohelo Mokotjo from Belgium and England respectively, chances of Tau playing were said to be compromised as he got injured during the club’s Brugge's 4-0 win over Gent recently.
After his arrival, Tau was said to be receiving medical attention while other players were training.
Supersport United duo of Dean Furman and Ronwen Williams, along with French-based striker Lebogang Mothiba, also watched the training session from the sidelines while another French-based player Bongani Zungu again looked to be a serious concern ahead of the game.
“We have Bongani Zungu, who has a deep laceration on his left leg and we need to open it and make a call on whether we are keeping him in camp or not,” said Bafana team doctor Thulani Ngwenya.
Ngwenya added that he was most concerned about Furman.
“Furman has had a knee problem for a week or so now. Yes, he played in the MTN8 final for SuperSport United, but he might have really pushed himself. He is a serious concern at the moment.”
Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Brandon Petersen and Cape Town City’s Thamsanqa Mkhize had also been withdrawn because of injuries and Ricardo Goss of Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic’s Tshepo Rikhotso were called up to replace them.
The clash against Mali, which is one of the top West African sides, will be played at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday and will be the first match in which new Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki will be in charge.
Ntseki will use the game against Mali to fine-tune his players for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan that will be played next month.