MASKMAN VS MARKSMAN
Itu ready for action in World Cup qualifier
A late fitness test will determine if maskman Itumeleng Khune will be on the field at the Peter Mokaba Stadium
Friday’s World Cup qualifier could well be settled by Senegal marksman Sadio Mane or SA maskman Itumeleng Khune.
If Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Khune passes a late fitness test after suffering a facial injury last weekend, he will play at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Khune did some light training with the national team on Wednesday after arriving from Johannesburg. In the second session in the afternoon‚ he got involved in full training wearing a face mask.
According to Bafana coach Stuart Baxter‚ Khune’s situation looks promising.
"Itu‚ we are more hopeful… In the afternoon‚ we put him between the sticks and there was a shooting drill.
"He felt quite good and wore a mask‚" Baxter said on Thursday. "If we are not sure Itu feels comfortable enough to give a performance‚ we will not risk him. It’s important that he feels he can give a performance.
"He’s a mature player and he knows the level that’s demanded of a goalkeeper of Bafana Bafana and he knows the importance of the game."
Mane had initially been expected to miss the match with a hamstring injury.
But his injury healed quicker than expected and he was in the starting line-up last Saturday for his club, Liverpool, as they beat West Ham United 4-1.
"I’m happy to be back, because it was not easy to recover. I was hurt, but I worked hard to return. I’m ready," the Liverpool striker said.