After getting off to a dream start that saw them do the unthinkable with a 2-0 away victory to Nigeria in Uyo in June 2017, South Africa’s campaign has been rocked by unexpected turns with injuries to key players that has destabilised the preparations ahead of their crucial Group E match against Libya on Saturday in Durban.
France-based midfielder, Bongani Zungu alongside Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane have all been ruled out of the Day Two clash, forcing Stuart Baxter to call up Tiyani Mabunda, Aubrey Modiba and Vincent Pule, his first ever national team call-up.
The Bafana Bafana camp was given another blow when Lebo Mothiba of French side Strasbourg, was ruled out due to to a hamstring injury, forcing Stuart Baxter to summon Bidvest Wits’ Mxolisi Macuphu another debutant in his place.
The team reported for camp on Monday and will be involved in a series of friendly matches against local sides including AmaZulu to fine-tune for the crucial match.
The South Africans will be hoping to put the injury withdrawals behind them as victory will see their qualification dreams nearing the reality zone, after picking the maximum points against Nigeria in the Group E opener away from home.
While they are seen as underdogs in the group, Libya thrashed a hapless Seychelles 5-1 in their opening game and will be hoping to make a return to the African showpiece. The North Africans’ last AFCON appearance was in 2012 where they made their third showing and were booted out in the group stages. Their best showing was back in 1982 where they finished second place as hosts.
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