Itumeleng Khune has suffered an optical fracture and will miss the two qualifiers against Senegal over the next week as SA’s already slim World Cup hopes took a major blow on Sunday.
The country’s top goalkeeper will be out for two to six weeks after a scan on his swollen right eye in Port Elizabeth on Sunday showed he had a fracture on the ridge between his eye socket and nose.
He was due to consult a specialist in Johannesburg on Monday for another opinion and could need surgery.
But he will not be able to play for Bafana Bafana in their two qualifiers against Senegal in Polokwane on Friday and in Dakar on Tuesday November 14, in a major blow.
Khune was taken directly to hospital for an assessment‚ stretchered from the field at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday into an ambulance and immediately for scans.
He took a knock above the eye in a collision with Kurt Lentjies towards the end of Kaizer Chiefs’ 1-0 away win over hosts Chippa United.
Lentjies smacked into Khune in a high-flying challenge‚ unable to pull out of the body clash even though Khune had got to the ball first.
As the two fell to the ground‚ Lentjies looked to grip Khune round the neck in an attempt to break his fall‚ worsening the painful-looking contact.
Both needed immediate treatment and were strapped to stretchers before being taken off. Lentjies seemed to have concussion, but was back on his feet again in the change-room after the game‚ said Chippa coach Teboho Moloi.
Chiefs’ medical staff were in attendance as Khune went through tests in Port Elizabeth before being discharged late in the evening and allowed to return to his hotel room. His eye was swollen shut and he was still in pain from the blow.
Bafana have to win both games against Senegal to secure an unlikely place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
During Khune’s absence in September, Bafana flopped in two matches against the Cape Verde Islands, which virtually ended their hopes.
Goalkeeping frailties on the part of both Ronwen Williams and Wayne Sandilands have left SA jittery at the back. But on Khune’s return to the team Bafana rallied back against Burkina Faso in October to win 3-1.