Bafana Bafana

SAFA explains Pirates trio withdrawal

Mpho Makola (Gallo Images)
Mpho Makola (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Ahead of Bafana Bafana friendly games against Costa Rica and Honduras, the South African Football Association permitted three Orlando Pirates players to rest following their CAF Confederations Cup clash against Al Ahly of Egypt last Sunday.

The players rested for the Central American tour are Thamsanqa Gabuza, Mpho Makola and Thabo Matlaba

The three players all featured for the Buccaneers emphatic 4-3 win over the Red Devils at the Suez Army Stadium in Cairo.

SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble confirmed that the trio will not join the national senior side due to their gruelling schedule in the continental showpiece but also cited that a decision was made by the country’s football governing body together with the head coach Shakes Mashaba.

“The decision we had to take was at the interest of those three players," said Mumble.

“We expected them to be back from Egypt on Monday and as the rest of the country knew that they had to connect flights in Dubai and were also delayed there.

“And it took longer than expected to be back in South Africa, so I discussed the decision to withdraw them with the coach (Mashaba) first and he agreed.

“And first and foremost, Pirates released the players and the players went to the airport. But their condition was not conducive for them to travel another 29 hours to Costa Rica after coming from a long trip from Egypt.

“They were still going to travel around eight hours to Brazil, then another three hours to Panama before landing in Costa Rica. So it is best that they take a rest they deserve at the moment.”

This means that the trio will be available for the Buccaneers Telkom Knock-out last 16 clash against the University of Pretoria on Friday.

Bafana will face Costa Rica at the San Jose’s National Stadium on Friday, October 9.

Kick-off is at 04:00 (SA Time).

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