Cape Town - Bafana Bafana assistant coach Thabo Senong says they are going through challenges but they will overcome.
Following the departure of seven players after the first-leg of the third and final round of the 2018 CHAN qualifier against Zambia on Saturday, August 12 - three more players were withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana team.
National First Division (NFD) side, Jomo Cosmos has recalled two of their players - defenders Thato Lingwati and Mpho Rasilingwane, while Richards Bay has also withdrawn Sandile Mthethwa.
This brings to 10 the number of players who have now left camp after the first leg in East London - Menzi Masuku (Chippa United), Shane Thompson (Mthatha Bucks), Tshepo Mabua, Keegan Pool (both Stellenbosch FC) and Gift Motupa (Baroka FC). Asavela Mbekile (Mamelodi Sundowns) has a family bereavement while Tercious Malepe (Orlando Pirates) was red carded.
There are now 15 players - including Mamelodi Sundowns defender Malebogo Modise who arrived in camp last night (Monday, August 14).
"It is unfortunate that the CHAN qualifiers come at a bad time in South African football season, and so such withdrawals are bound to happen," said assistant coach Senong on the official SAFA website.
"We also have to understand where the teams are coming from, and we will forever appreciate the help they have given us where they could. We will keep on knocking at the doors until one of them opens.
"It all boils down to the relationships we are building with all the coaches to ensure that going forward we try and avoid such problems.
"The truth is, if CHAN continues to be played at this time, we will always have these problems and that is why it is very important to have these relations with club coaches. Only by working together will we get things right. We are going through some challenges but we will overcome."
Four players will be joining Bafana Bafana as late replacements - Kgotso Moleko, Sibusiso Khumalo, Siya Ngezana (all Kaizer Chiefs) as well as Siphelele Ndlovu, who is from TS Galaxy in the ABC Motsepe League.
"This tournament is all about giving exposure and that is our mission. Since the start we have given several a chance to don the national team jersey and some of them are very promising, they are stars of the future. We believe that so far we have achieved our objective of giving international experience to some players, and for that we must again thank the clubs for the assistance," added Senong.
"We believe strongly that we can go to Zambia and compete. We are not saying it but we all saw what happened in East London, we were almost home and dry but they came back last minute to equalise - so that gives us confidence that we can go there and hurt them in their backyard. We are positive that we will do well."
The squad departs for Zambia on Thursday, August 17.
The match between South Africa and Zambia will be played on Saturday, August 19 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Kick off is at 15:00.