Injury could ruin Itumeleng Khune's Afcon chances

Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune.
Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has insisted that it is Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter's decision to take goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to the Africa Cup of Nations or not.

Middendorp reiterated that Khune - who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a severe shoulder injury in January - will not be returning to the field of play this season. As a result, the 31-year old has hardly seen any game time.

"Regarding Itu Khune, what are you expecting me to answer? Is he fit? Let's be honest, seriously today (on Tuesday) it's nearly the end of April. Not even now, not even over shoulder [lifting his shoulder up]. There's no ball involved at all," Middendorp said.

"There's no chance [that Khune will play this season], 100 percent. If somebody dreams about to have Itu Khune into Afcon when he's not even at training he's  not serious and dishonest to do something like that."

"That's my opinion, but if the national team coach has an idea to call Khune for Afcon, it's his decision. Our medical department definitely has other ideas," the Amakhosi mentor emphasised.

Instead, Middendorp challenged Khune to focus on working towards reclaiming his No.1 jersey in the new season, implying he'll face a stiff competition from fellow club's shot-stoppers in Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma.

"Secondly, he should make it  really happen to concentrated and very clear structured to prepare himself to  have good start of the season. We have Bruce and Daniel, who's more and more settling in. We have goalkeepers who have high competitive quality level," Middendorp noted.

 Having played five of Bafana's Afcon qualifiers, the Chiefs keeper only missed the last one against Libya.

It was Bidvest Wit's Darren Keet who stepped up to the plate and produced magical performance to ensure a 2-1 away win to Libya, inspiring SA to qualify for the finals in Egypt from June 21- July 19 this year.

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