Dean Furman key for Bafana - Stuart Baxter
Stuart Baxter is still sweating on the fitness of key central midfielder Dean Furman ahead of Bafana Bafana's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) last-16 clash against Egypt at Cairo International Stadium tomorrow, and wants an answer quickly.
Baxter was to assess Furman - who is ruled out with what seemed a knee injury, but scans have shown to be a calf issue - at yesterday's afternoon session at Bafana's Aero Sports Club training venue.
Furman got injured in Bafana's opening match against Ivory Coast.
Bafana's best attacker in Afcon, Mamelodi Sundowns winger Themba Zwane, is out injured as well.
Supporters in SA, critical of Bafana's conservative tactics at Afcon, have viewed Furman as a defensive inclusion in Bafana central midfield.
But Baxter feels the kilometres covered by the indefatigable SuperSport United man, in fact make it possible for Bafana to be more attacking when Furman is present to cover the back four, allowing a platform for the frontline to go forward with greater freedom.
"It's his calf, the insert at the back of the knee," Baxter said of Furman's injury.
"We need to see - can he put up with that pain, or not? At the moment it doesn't look too hopeful.
"The medical department have got to give me a heads up, because tomorrow is our only preparation day.
"Dean, being out or not, makes a big difference to the line-up and how we're going to play."
"If we play with Dean then we can be a bit more aggressive, because he can sit a bit more. Without Dean we might have to play a bit more like against Morocco and be a bit smart."
Last 16 fixtures
Today: Morocco v Benin, 6pm; Uganda v Senegal, 9pm
Tomorrow: Nigeria v Cameroon, 6pm; Egypt v South Africa, 9pm
Sunday: Madagascar v DR Congo, 6pm; Algeria v Guinea, 9pm
Monday: Mali v Ivory Coast, 6pm; Ghana v Tunisia, 9pm.