Bafana midfielder Mothobi Mvala to face late fitness test ahead of Zimbabwe showdown

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Ben Motshwari of Orlando Pirates tackled by Mothobi Mvala of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Ben Motshwari of Orlando Pirates tackled by Mothobi Mvala of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Backpagepix

Mamelodi Sundowns defensive midfielder Mothobi Mvala is facing a late fitness test to determine his availability for Bafana Bafana’s opening 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe in Harare on Friday. 

Mvala did not train with the rest of his teammates on Monday and Tuesday due to a mild groin strain, but he will travel to Zimbabwe on Wednesday for further assessments and a  final decision on his availability.

“We will see how he is feeling on Wednesday and Thursday,” said coach Hugo Broos when asked about the progress of Mvala, who started this season featuring in three of the four matches for Sundowns in all competitions.

“He will stay on with the rest of the group and will go with us to Zimbabwe. We will see how his injury is when we get there. For the moment he is doing good. Every day he is getting better and there is still time before Friday, but we will see how it goes on Wednesday and Thursday.”

On Friday Broos will announce his first Bafana starting line-up and said he has an idea of the team that will take on the Warriors of Zimbabwe to start the qualification programme for the World Cup in Qatar.

“Apart from one or two positions, I have the rest of the team in my head but we will see what happens on the training field on Wednesday evening and on Thursday.”

After two good training sessions on Monday and Tuesday, Broos is confident they will be ready for Friday’s match.

“I don’t think we are ready now but we will be ready for Friday and that’s for sure. The players are working hard, they have been good even though there are some things that could be better.

“That is not a problem because we have to be used to each other. What I have asked them to do at training they are doing,  and I am sure  we will be ready on Friday.”

Broos is expecting a tough battle from Zimbabwe who have a number of players playing in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and others overseas.

“I know Zimbabwe will want to beat us. They are our neighbours and they have some players plying their trade in SA and know us very well. It is going to be a tough game for both of us, but I am confident because my team will be ready.

“We will suffer maybe in the beginning of the game, but we will have to survive and be mentally strong. I think they will try to throttle us and try kill [off the game] early. This is something many coaches will want to do when playing at home, but our players will be ready for anything they are going to throw at us.”