Stuart Baxter concerned over Bafana Bafana injury blows

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter and his assistants in a discussion with the player during a training session at Steyn City School in Fourways, north of Johannesburg, on October 9, 2018. SA take on Seychelles in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday October 13 2018.
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter and his assistants in a discussion with the player during a training session at Steyn City School in Fourways, north of Johannesburg, on October 9, 2018. SA take on Seychelles in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday October 13 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Stuart Baxter has intimated that the loss of Thapelo Morena at right-back is a particular blow to his plans for Bafana Bafana’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The coach had already revealed that Mamelodi Sundowns’ speedy‚ attacking fullback Morena‚ previously overlooked during Baxter’s tenure‚ was called up against Seychelles because Bafana would be looking for an offensive approach against the islanders.

Morena (quad strain) and Orlando Pirates winger Vincent Pule (cruciate ligament) have been withdrawn from the squad‚ and replaced by another Bucs winger‚ Thembinkosi Lorch‚ and Cape Town City right-back Thamsanqa Mkhize.

“We’ve already got Bongani Zungu and Themba Zwane out‚ we’ve got Keagan Dolly out‚ and then you bring in a Morena who I thought really was perfect for this game. And then he pulls a hamstring‚” Baxter said after his team’s second training session on the pristine pitch of Steyn City School in Fourways on Tuesday.

“And then you’ve also got Vincent Pule‚ who’s got a bad one. The scans showed that he’s got damage on is cruciate ligament. So it isn’t just a kick‚ as people might have first thought.

“Those were two withdrawals that caused a little bit of concern.

“But the lads we’ve brought in – Mkhize will arrive later‚ and Lorch is here – will add cover.

“The other one not here is Dino Ndlovu. His flight was cancelled in Hong Kong. He very professionally sent me a video of the board where it was actually saying in Chinese‚ and then it flicked over‚ that he was delayed.

“So that’s not ideal either – he’s only going to have two days’ preparation.

“But again‚ we’ve got Percy Tau who can play No.9 – we’ve got the big lad [Lebo Mothiba]‚ who’s looking very good.

“And I want us to play a very mobile game. I think you saw that this morning [in training] – we were practicing playing in pockets and getting fullbacks high‚ and having plenty of movement and speed on the ball.

“Which is why I’m training here [at Steyn City]. Because they speed on the ball of the surface is more than some of the heavier pitches.”

Striker Ndlovu is expected to arrive on Wednesday due to his cancelled flight in Hong Kong travelling from his club Hangzhou Greentown in northern China.


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