Bafana without Khumalo for Cote d'Ivoire face-off

Bafana Bafana defender Bongani Khumalo has been withdrawn from the squad to face Cote d’Ivoire in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, as well as the international friendly against Zimbabwe due to an ankle injury.

The matches are to take place on Saturday November 12 and Tuesday November 15.

Sita da Xulu of Mamelodi Sundowns will replace the Reading FC player who has already left camp.

The good news is that Bafana Bafana has a full complement of players following the arrival of midfielders Kagisho Dikgacoi and captain Steven Pienaar from England, as well as defenders Bevan Fransman (Israel) and Tsepo Masilela (Spain).

Dikgacoi arrived on Tuesday morning and joined his teammates at training, while the trio of Pienaar, Masilela and Fransman took part in the afternoon training session.

Bafana are presently in Port Elizabeth to prepare for the match against Cote d’Ivoire.

“We are glad we have all the players in camp and now we are able to plan properly. As for Khumalo, it’s a blow that he is not with us but we have to soldier on as I believe we have other players that can take his place.

“We are playing a high profile team and we all know what they are capable of, we respect them but should not over-respect. They are a very difficult team to beat but a win is still possible and I believe we can pull it off,” said Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane.

Stand-in captain Siphiwe Tshabalala was also full of confidence that they could get a positive result against the number one ranked side on the continent.

“We are looking forward to this match and we know its going to be a difficult outing as they possess plenty of experience.
We view this as a good test for us and we are well aware of the expectations of the country, so we will do our best. The good thing is that we know what to expect,” said Tshabalala.—Sapa

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