Chiefs player picked on day he trended for wrong reasons

Khune selection highlights Bafana keeper crisis

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Out-of-form Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs has surprisingly been selected as one of Bafana Bafana goalkeepers for the Afcon games.
Out-of-form Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs has surprisingly been selected as one of Bafana Bafana goalkeepers for the Afcon games.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The inclusion of off-form Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in the Bafana Bafana squad for 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan later this month paints a clearer picture of SA’s goalkeeper crisis.

Even Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki, during his squad media conference at Safa House yesterday, conceded Bafana Bafana is faced with a keeper crisis, hence he resorted to the underperforming Khune due to his “experience”. SA faces Ghana at FNB Stadium on March 25, before wrapping up their Afcon qualifiers campaign away to Sudan three days later.

Khune's Bafana selection came on the day a video, where he appeared to be breaching Covid-19 regulations at a crowded scene, trended on social media yesterday. The 33-year-old has already received harsh criticism on social media and his Bafana call-up is likely to fuel controversy.

AmaZulu’s Veli Mothwa and current No.1 Ronwen Williams of SuperSport United are the other shot-stoppers selected. The inactivity of Darren Keet, who’s unattached after parting ways with Belgian club OH Leuven last October, has compounded the country’s keeper conundrum. Added to this is the fact that some of the country's top clubs, such as Mamelodi Sundowns (Denis Onyango), Cape Town City (Peter Leeuwenburgh) and Orland Pirates (Richard Ofori) have foreign keepers as their number one.

“We’ve done our profiling since our last game against São Tomé [and Príncipe], so in the profiling, we’ve discovered that we’ve got a serious challenge when it comes to the goalkeeping department. In the last three weeks, we had only Ronwen Williams as the only Bafana goalkeeper playing regularly,’’ said Ntseki yesterday.

“The goalkeeping department has been a very serious concern for us. Lately, we saw Khune starting to play for Chiefs. Going into these matches we couldn’t bring in all inexperienced goalkeepers. Khune, because of the past experience and the few games he’s played for Chiefs, we felt he must be included.’’

Ntseki couldn’t be drawn into Khune’s off-field transgressions, which could mean he broke Covid-19 protocols, referring the queries to SA Football Association’s chief medical officer Thulani Ngwenya. Ngwenya indicated it was the clubs’ role to make sure players adhere to Covid-19 rules.

“The players belong to the clubs. As a national team, we always communicate with the clubs from time to time. However, management of any situation or any injury is solely the club’s responsibility and not the national team,’’ said Ngwenya. “We take over from the time they report to camp."

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu)

Defenders: Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal) Siyanda Xulu (Tel Aviv, Israel) Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Maela (both Pirates), Mosa Lebusa, Thapelo Morena (both Sundowns), Craig Martin (Cape Town City), Sifiso Hlanti (Swallows)

Midfielders: Rivaldo Coetzee, Themba Zwane, Andile Jali (all Sundowns) Thulani Serero (Al Jazira, Abu Dhabi) Ben Motshwari (Pirates) Bongani Zungu (Rangers, Scotland) Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France) Percy Tau (Brighton, England), Sipho Mbule (SuperSport), Luther Singh (Paços de Ferreira, Portugal), Dean Furman (Carlisle, England).

Strikers: Kermit Erasmus (Sundowns) Bradley Grobler (SuperSport) Ruzaigh Gamildien (Swallows) Lyle Foster (Guimaraes, Portugal)

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