As Molefi Ntseki prepares to announce his Bafana Bafana squad on Thursday to face Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Soccer Laduma looks at the big concerns for the coach.
Bafana are due to play the Ghanaians later this month in a crucial qualifier, but Ntseki has quite a number of players either not playing regularly or struggling for good form.
Percy Tau’s lack of game-time
The former Mamelodi Sundowns striker is arguably South Africa’s most prized possession, but since returning to parent club Brighton & Hove Albion, he has not spent a lot of time on the pitch, which should be a concern for national team coach Ntseki. Tau was enjoying regular football while he was in Belgium, but he has made just two league appearances and three in the FA Cup since joining Brighton, with no goals to his name up to now. It’s proven to be a difficult first few months for the man nicknamed the ‘Lion of Judah’ and, while Ntseki will select him, there are concerns on whether his lack of game time will affect his national team performances. He could, though, also use the opportunity to show Brighton manager Graeme Potter that he deserves more game time.
Khune and the struggle for in-form SA keepers
Ronwen Williams is likely to be the number one shot-stopper, but the big concern will be who else will form part of the goalkeeping department for a match as big as this one. Itumeleng Khune, who was brought back into the team last time, has been struggling to rediscover his best form. Ntseki appreciates the experience Khune brings into the side and could include him in the team, but questions will be asked regarding his form, should he get an opportunity. Darren Keet is training GladAfrica Championship for Cape Umoya United. Ricardo Goss has not been getting game-time at Sundowns since joining them from Bidvest Wits. Ntseki does not have too many others to consider when it comes to in-form goalkeepers.
Zungu’s struggles in Scotland
Bongani Zungu was caught on the wrong side of the law in Scotland for breaching Covid-19 regulations and this has not helped his cause in trying to get into the starting line-up a bit more at Glasgow Rangers. His loan spell from French Ligue 2 side Amiens has not been a success up to now and it remains to be seen if the coach will include him in the squad after his recent behaviour off the field in Scotland.
Players’ lack of game-time
Some of South Africa’s overseas based players are in the country, in particular Kamohelo Mokotjo, who is one of Ntseki’s key players. Dean Furman is another who does not have a lot of game-time under his belt, while Innocent Maela returned recently having last featured at the beginning of February. Andile Jali was part of the squad last time round, but has been in and out of the Sundowns team. SuperSport United's Teboho Mokoena has been out injured and only made a return recently. Rushine De Reuck, who was in the last squad for the clash against Sao Tome, has not featured much since joining Sundowns, as he continues to fight his way into the team.
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