Morena, Pule in doubt for Bafana's crucial Afcon match
JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will be sweating over the availability of defender Thapelo Morena and midfielder Vincent Pule ahead of the national team facing Seychelles in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.
Baxter was at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday afternoon when Morena strained his quad muscle minutes before his club Mamelodi Sundowns took on Bidvest Wits in an Absa Premiership encounter.
The player was immediately removed from the starting line-up as precaution, but that would have been a worry for the Bafana coach, who is looking at Morena as a possible starter this weekend and probably in the return leg three days later.
He will join the national team camp for assessment by the Bafana team doctor, but it is unclear whether Pule will report for duty. The Orlando Pirates attacker missed out on his team’s 1-1 draw away to AmaZulu on Saturday night in KwaZulu-Natal, which came as a surprise to many given that there had been no official word from the Buccaneers regarding his absence.
He played the full 90 minutes a few days earlier when Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium. Although he didn’t give too much away regarding Morena’s injury, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane did suggest it might rule the player out of the back-to-back Afcon qualifier.
“It’s so sad because he is supposed to come for Bafana and I was imagining him playing a big role. Seychelles stay in and he is the one to go down the line to bring in the crosses. I can’t say now whether the injury is serious enough (for him to be withdrawn),” Mosimane said shortly after the Brazilians’ 1-1 draw with Wits.
Bafana Bafana Squad:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Darren Keet, Ronwen Williams.
Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Motjeka Madisha, Thapelo Morena, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti, Siyanda Xulu, Innocent Maela.
Midfielders: Dean Furman, Teboho Mokoena, Lebogang Maboe, Hlompho Kekana, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Thabo Nodada, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Vincent Pule, Lebogang Phiri, Aubrey Modiba.
Strikers: Dino Ndlovu, Percy Tau, Lebo Mothiba, Phakamani Mahlambi.