Baxter sticks with tried and tested

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Image: TIYANI WA KA MABASA

Team that beat Burkina Faso core for Senegal game. It looks like Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is not going to fix what's not broken in terms of his starting XI for tomorrow's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium (7pm).

Based on what the Sowetan team has observed at training, Baxter is likely to stick with most of the players from the team that beat Burkina Faso 3-1 last month.

Baxter also focused on his defence yesterday. Morgan Gould and Clayton Daniels were partnered together in central defence, while Thamsanqa Mkhize and Sifiso Hlanti manned the right- and left-back positions respectively.

All started against Burkina Faso, meaning there could be no place for returning captain Thulani Hlatshwayo. There could be a change in goal, however. Itumeleng Khune played in the last match, but Baxter isn't sure at this stage if Khune would be available.

It appears that Wayne Sandilands would get the nod if Khune doesn't make it as Baxter has been seen having long conversations with him.

"We worked a little bit on our defensive structure and we will be working more on a XI v XI [today]," Baxter explained.

"Itu has done coordination work to test his vision and he will be getting his [face] mask [by late yesterday] to see if there's any possibility at all [of him playing]," he said.

Khune also has a shoulder issue to contend with, which kept him down briefly during yesterday morning's training session.

"He's had a chronic shoulder problem all season, so that's nothing new. It's something he has to manage with ice each time he plays really, so the major issue with Itu is the eye," said the coach.

"At the moment it's impossible to say if he would play, because his vision is not impaired greatly but we don't know how the mask is going to affect him."

It appears that Dean Furman is going to partner Kamohelo Mokotjo in central midfield with the likes of Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi completing the attack. Gould, meanwhile, has backed the team to do well regardless of who starts on the day. "I think whoever gets the nod, we believe that he will give 200%," he said.

"We back one another, we support one another and we show love to one another."

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