Injured Bafana stars on mend
THERE is a glimmer of hope for Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund that his long injury list may be cut before the squad goes into camp for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Igesund has been robbed of no fewer than 10 players who have either been regular Bafana squad members over the past 12 months, or players who he is keen to take a look at for the Nations Cup.
But there has been some positive news coming through this week that could see some of these star names return to fitness just in time for the tournament. There is, of course, a big difference between being physically fit and match fit, or even in form for that matter, but Igesund will be boosted by the news nonetheless.
Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Thulani Serero says he expects to step up his recovery this month and could be back in full training by the beginning of next month. That would give him just a few matches to find some form before the Dutch League adjourns for their winter break.
Striker Davide Somma is also back in training after almost 18 months on the sidelines, and is targeting a return to action early next month.
"He's doing some training and he's not had any reaction and he's started doing different things other than straightforward running. He's going to join in with the football side of things as from next week as well," his coach at Leeds United, Neil Warnock, said.
Katlego Mphela is set to return to proper training in the middle of next month, which will leave next to no game time to find some form. It will then be a question for the coach of whether he wants to take a risk on Bafana's leading marksman of the moment.
It will be a similar scenario for Lierse midfielder Daylon Claasen.
Kaizer Chiefs left-back Tsepo Masilela is working his way back to match fitness and should be ready in time for the tournament, but veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvethe is touch-and-go as he recovers from a toe injury.
Benni McCarthy's planned comeback last week has been postponed, but he is perhaps just a few weeks away from full fitness.
Chiefs defender Morgan Gould is reportedly ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from an Achilles problem, but he is still almost certain to miss the Nations Cup. Russia-based Siyanda Xulu has now fully recovered from a thigh injury, but Feyenoord utility player Kamohelo Mokotjo remains sidelined with an ankle problem.