Bafana sweat over Percy Tau's fitness

Bafana Bafana players and technical team interact with staff of the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital during their visit yesterday. The team will face Mali in the Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Bafana Bafana players and technical team interact with staff of the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital during their visit yesterday. The team will face Mali in the Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Image: GOMOLEMO MOTSHWANE

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki is sweating over the fitness of star striker Percy Tau and that his team will not suffer any more injury casualties as he looks to make an impression in his first match in charge.

Ntseki will take charge of his first game when Bafana meet Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Sunday (3pm).

The team will be waiting with bated breath to see if Tau will ready to play after wobbling off the field while featuring in a match for Club Brugge on Sunday. Tau is expected to join the national team in camp this morning with most of the squad having reported for duty on Sunday night.

Bafana doctor Thulani Ngwenya confirmed that Tau will be assessed on arrival.

"His team didn't flag anything. He's still coming to camp. We are going to assess him and then we'll make a final call," Ngwenya said.

Bafana striker Bradley Grobler poses with a patient at the hospital yesterday.
Bafana striker Bradley Grobler poses with a patient at the hospital yesterday.
Image: GOMOLEMO MOTSHWANE

SA are also crossing fingers over the fitness of a several other key players including Bongani Zungu, Mulomowandau Mathoho and Dean Furman.

"Tower [Mathoho] has an ankle injury we will manage and see. A person who is a little bit of a concern is Dean, who's had a knee injury for a week or so," the medic added. "Bongani has a deep laceration on his left leg."

Ntseki, though, is not pressing the panic button yet. "The report I got from the doctor doesn't warrant for us to make more changes," Ntseki said.

The friendly, in honour of Madiba, will be the team's only preparation game under Ntseki ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan next month. The former under-17 national team coach is looking to make the most of the limited time with the players.

"We could only play Mali on Sunday and in honouring Mandela we could not play a second match on Tuesday. The logistical challenges we were facing only allowed for one match," Ntseki said.

"We will have maximum use of the game itself. We are looking to use 90% of the players because we can only make six substitutes. But it is important for them all to be in camp to prepare for Ghana and Sudan."


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