Majoro blow for Bafana

2013-01-25 00:00

BAFANA Bafana may be flying high at the Afcon after their 2-0 win over Angola on Wednesday night, but they were dealt a massive blow yesterday with the news that striker Lehlohonolo Majoro is unavailable for Sunday’s final Group A clash with Morocco at Moses Mabhida stadium.

Majoro, a goal-scoring substitute in Wednesday’s 2-0 win, picked up a leg injury in the dying stages of the match and it was revealed yesterday that his shin was cut open and required stitches.

“I’m going to miss maybe a couple of games. I have seven or so stitches in my leg. The medical team said I may miss the next game or two,” he told Reuters.

The injury adds to the existing concerns over midfielders Kagisho Dikgacoi and Lerato Chabangu, who were both unavailable for Wednesday night’s clash, while striker Katlego Mphela and attacking midfielder Thulani Serero continue to work back to full fitness.

With Bafana now top of Group A, a draw against Morocco will be enough to see them reach the quarter-finals of the competition, but the coach refuses to think about the knockout stages just yet.

“I think we are at the stage of the competition where we just need to focus on the next game, we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Igesund told reporters after his side’s Durban win. “We have a job to do still but by no means are we in the clear.”

Having fielded an adventurous and attacking starting lineup for the win over Angola, Igesund could not confirm that Bafana would be set up the same way on Sunday.

While the two goals and the win have momentarily satisfied Bafana’s critics who want to see chances continuously created, the coach emphasized that circumstances would determine the 11 players he puts on to the pitch.

“This game [Angola] was a must-win situation and we had to gamble,” he said. “But each game is different. Angola and Morocco are totally different teams and you play differently against them, so you choose the team who can do the job for you on the day.”

With the pressure firmly on the coach and players before Wednesday night’s match, Igesund spoke briefly about the criticism that the squad have had to overcome over the last couple of weeks.

“I don’t think the criticism has been unjustified, journalists have to do their jobs and we hadn’t been scoring goals,” he said. “But we just have to bounce back from these situations and let them make us stronger. Obviously, when we scored our first goal I was very happy because I know that we are a difficult side to score against.”

Captain Bongani Khumalo was also a visibly relieved figure when Bafana’s first goal went in on Wednesday, and it is remarkable how much difference a few days can make in football. Khumalo is now on the verge of guiding his side through the knockouts, but just like his coach, the skipper is not getting too carried away.

“We knew that we had a job to do and we went out and did that,” he said. “We were given a second chance with the other results in our group. We had to be bold but it is important to stay focused. We still have one more game before we can say that we have qualified and that is our next aim.”

SA’s match kicks off at 7 pm, while the other Group A match, between Angola and Cape Verde, will start at the same time in Port Elizabeth.

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