Chiefs coach Middendorp crushes talk of Khune playing in Afcon
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has warned Bafana Bafana boss Stuart Baxter that expecting goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in June and July would be highly unrealistic.
Middendorp said that in his opinion Bafana and Chiefs’ stalwart No 1 has no chance of recovering from his long-term shoulder injury in time for Egypt 2019‚ where South Africa meet Ivory Coast in their first Group D game on June 23.
Baxter has said that even if Khune can play a handful of league games for Chiefs‚ he will strongly consider including one of Africa’s best keepers in his squad for the continental showpiece.
Middendorp said with Khune only back to light training‚ and with three league matches plus the Nedbank Cup final against TS Galaxy remaining for Chiefs this season‚ such a prospect was completely unlikely.
“Ja‚ seriously‚ let’s be honest‚ today is nearly the end of April‚ and until now he has not even trained with any ball involved at all‚” Middendorp said‚ asked about Khune’s state of fitness after Chiefs’ 1-1 Absa Premiership draw against Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.
“So I think‚ actually‚ it should not really be that every three weeks I have to answer this question.
“But there is no chance‚ 100 percent‚ if somebody dreams about having Itu Khune into Afcon‚ where he is not even at training.
"Sorry‚ it is totally unserious‚ it is dishonest.
“And secondly‚ he should really make it happen to be very concentrated and clear-structured to prepare himself to have a good start of the [2019-20] season.
“We have Bruce Bvuma and we have Daniel Akpeyi who are getting more and more settled in – [they are] definitely goalkeepers who have a high quality competitive level.
“That’s my opinion. But if the national team coach has an idea to call in Itu Khune for Afcon‚ that’s his decision.
“Our medical department definitely has other ideas.”
Khune last played in Chiefs’ 2-1 league win against Arrows in Durban on December 1.
He injured his shoulder in training and underwent surgery.