Focus on Bafana’s engine room as Nigeria lie in wait

South African national mens soccer team coach Stuart Baxter with Thulani Seraro and Hlompho Kekana during the South African national mens soccer team training session at Steyn City School on November 13, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
South African national mens soccer team coach Stuart Baxter with Thulani Seraro and Hlompho Kekana during the South African national mens soccer team training session at Steyn City School on November 13, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

With a number of his regular midfield starters out through an assortment of injuries‚ coach Stuart Baxter will have no option but to make key changes in the heart of his lineup when Bafana Bafana host Nigeria in a penultimate African Nations Cup qualifier at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.

Kamohelo Mokotjo and Dean Furman are injured and Baxter is likely to fill that area with the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda.

The changes are, however, unlikely to end there, with prodigal son Thulani Serero set to be given the playmaker role after smoking the peace pipe with Baxter to end his self-imposed exile.

Also likely to start in midfield is another Sundowns attacking midfielder‚ Themba Zwane‚ who missed the Seychelles games due to injury.

“I have a choice to either put in Hlompho with Sugar [Mabunda] because they play together or I can go with one of the other two [Tebogo Mokoena and Fortune Makaringe]‚ who really are for the future‚” Baxter said.

Ninety-five thousand fans – it’s possible. South Africans, I know you can do it. The team needs you
Itumeleng Khune

Meanwhile, Itumeleng Khune has made an impassioned plea for South Africans to buy tickets for the game.

“The team needs you‚” he said after a Bafana training session on Wednesday.

Khune said that, despite just 7‚300 tickets being sold, he believed Bafana supporters would buy late.

“Ninety-five thousand fans – it’s possible. South Africans, I know you can do it. The team needs you.”

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