Bafana Bafana head coach, Shakes Mashaba, will be without defender, Erick Mathoho, going into the African Cup of Nations opener due to a suspension.
The 24-year-old centre back has been a cornerstone for Mashaba’s side during their qualification for the AFCON finals in Equatorial Guinea next month, however picked up his second yellow card during the 2-2 with Nigeria in their final game.
CAF rules state that any suspension obtained during AFCON qualifiers will continue into the tournament itself, meaning that Reneilwe Letsholonyane will also miss the opening game following his sending off against the Super Eagles.
The rules do explain that any singular bookings obtained during qualification will not be taken into account during the tournament itself, with them being cancelled out ahead of the finals, though suspensions earned will stand.
Mathoho’s absence means that Thulani Hlatshwayo is likely to enter into Bafana’s back four for the opening game against Algeria on January 19th, though Mashaba will be confident that his side can continue their impressive unbeaten run since he took over.