Kekana, Mabunda must start

Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda of SA have formed a formidable duo at Downs. / Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda of SA have formed a formidable duo at Downs. / Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has backed his Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda to fill the void in central midfield for the national team when they take on Nigeria at FNB Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

With both Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotjo out through injuries, Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has to look at other options for his central pairing against the Super Eagles in this 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Baxter also has Thulani Serero, Fortune Makaringe and Teboho Mokoena to consider in the centre of the park but he's unlikely to call on the inexperienced Makaringe and Mokoena for this clash.

Mosimane reckons that pairing Mabunda and Kekana, who are used to each other since they play together at club level, could do the trick.

"I think we've got good players in those positions at Bafana. Furman, [Bongani] Zungu, Kamo, Andile [Jali] are out. We had a lot, but now it's getting [thin in that department]," said Jingles.

"Now you have Mabunda and Kekana. They've got the experience to play against Nigeria, no excuse. I mean, they've played in the CAF Champions League."

Mosimane feels that with the duo having played in some intimidating stadiums during their CAF campaigns, playing in front of their home supporters will be a breeze.

"You've gone to [TP] Mazembe and you have a problem to play here at home? No, I mean really.

"They played against Barcelona [in a friendly], so they've got no excuse," Mosimane added.

In terms of international experience, Kekana has 20 caps and Mabunda boasts seven.

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