Masalesa withdrawn from Bafana quad

Lehlogonolo Masalesa (Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix)

Lehlogonolo Masalesa has been withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana quad to face Botswana in the Chan qualifier on Saturday.

The former Orlando Pirates anchorman has been replaced by Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Sibusiso Khumalo in the team.

“It has been an unfortunate process, but we needed to confirm that he is eligible. Masalesa does not have a local address in terms of club affiliation, so it’s a blow because we had him in the starting line-up and we will have to change the shape and the way we play,” said Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.

“I was up all night last night talking to a few coaches, and Pitso Mosimane has come to our rescue, and he will give us midfielder Sibusiso Khumalo. So at the moment, we are in the process of trying to get him on board.

“We are just hoping that we don’t lose other players either to injury or to being recalled by their clubs because it has been difficult getting players for Cosafa Cup and Chan, and it makes it almost impossible to make proper preparations,” added Baxter.

The inclusion of Khumalo brings to 15 the new players called up to the Chan squad, leaving just eight who were in the Cosafa Cup team.

Mario Booysen will wear the captain’s armband in the absence of Masalesa.

Bafana face the Zebras at the Francistown Stadium in Botswana on Saturday at 3pm.

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