Ntseki’s selection headaches ahead of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers

Molefi Ntseki coach of Bafana Bafana. Picture:Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
Molefi Ntseki coach of Bafana Bafana. Picture:Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

All eyes will be on Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki on Thursday when he announces the squad to play São Tomé and Príncipe later this month.

As always there is speculation about the inclusion of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

With Darren Keet struggling for game time in Belgium, the last line of defence is rather thin with only Ronwen Williams the only active goalkeeper.

Khune, who spent most of the time on the sideline with a shoulder injury, has played only four games for Kaizer Chiefs so far and the odds are stacked against him to make a national team comeback. Even if he does make the squad, he is unlikely to feature.

Ntseki also faces a selection headache up front.

Percy Tau has dropped down the pecking order at Club Brugge in Belgium and has barely featured in recent matches with little to no impetus. Fellow European attacker Lebo Mothiba has also been struggling firing blanks in front of the goalposts for his French side Strasbourg with only three goals in 23 matches.

Ntseki might be tempted to consider AmaZulu striker Bongi Ntuli, who has already found the back of the net 12 times this season.

A blessing for the Bafana coach is that captain Thulani Hlatshwayo is expected to be fit to lead the team.

Hlatshwayo missed Bidvest Wits’ narrow 1-0 win over Black Leopards on Tuesday night following a head injury he sustained in the game against SuperSport United almost a fortnight ago.

Bafana will face the island nation in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

South Africa will host the first leg at FNB Stadium on March 27 before travelling to São Tomé and Príncipe for the return leg a few days later at the Estadio Nacional 12 de Julho.

The game will be played on an artificial pitch.

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