Kaizer Chiefs will have five players leaving Naturena this month to do duty for their national teams with international matches back again.
Following their Soweto Derby win over Orlando Pirates at the weekend, the club released Itumeleng Khune, Anthony Akumu, Reeve Frosler, Happy Mashiane and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo to honour their call-ups.
Khune is the only Amakhosi player named in the Bafana Bafana squad to face Ghana on Thursday and Sudan a few days later in the crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, while Akumu will represent Kenya when they take on Egypt and Togo in the same competition for a place at next year’s tournament.
The younger players – Frosler, Mashiane and Ngcobo – are part of David Notoane’s U/23 squad playing friendly games in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Our players definitely need a mental break. It’s not a physical break – they need to mentally get away from the game, there’s no doubt about it,” said Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt when asked whether FIFA week was timely.
“There’s a couple who are not going to train, we are going to have to get the ones who are not fit fitter and there’s about seven or eight that need a complete break. They will have a couple of days off and they will be recharged and we go again for the last push. And this is the only time we can do it because the guys hardly had a Christmas, they’ve been going and hardly had an off season. It’s more mental, our mistakes this season. You can always work on fitness, but sometimes a break from the game is always better.”
Amakhosi will return to action on April 3 when they host Wydad Casablanca in the Champions League group stages.