Percy Tau. Picture: ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES
Percy Tau. Picture: ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES

The trio of top stars who missed Bafana Bafana’s 2-1 friendly win over Mali are back in action‚ providing a significant boost for coach Molefi Ntseki ahead of the start of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan in November.

Percy Tau and Lebo Mothiba were both suffering from fatigue‚ according to their club coaches‚ but have continued to feature prominently over the past week.

But perhaps most pleasing for Ntseki will be the return of Bongani Zungu‚ who had missed the Mali match with a deep gash that kept him on the sidelines for almost four weeks.

A fit Zungu is a major weapon for Ntseki. He was one of the standout performers at the Afcon finals in Egypt, where he helped the side to the quarterfinals.

His spell on the sidelines was a worry‚ but he returned to play 90 minutes for Amiens in a French Cup victory over Angers last week‚ and then came on as a late sub in a Ligue 1 success over Brest.

Zungu is much admired at Amiens‚ but due to constant injury problems he has battled to have a run of games in the past 12 months. He will hope to put that worry behind him for club and country.

Mothiba has also been in and out of the Strasbourg side in Ligue 1 this season‚ with his coach Thierry Laurey admitting he has taken a while to get back to his best.

“He came back washed out after the Afcon‚” Laurey told reporters. “But he is performing again. For players to perform well‚ they must be played in their best position. He has worked hard and has returned to a good level.”

Tau is likely to line up for Club Brugge against Paris St Germain in the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday as he continues to oscillate between a start and the bench as his freshness is managed.

He was again used off the bench at the weekend‚ which suggests he will start against PSG.

All three players will likely be key for Ntseki against Ghana.

The worst-case scenario for him going into that game would be for them to be sitting on the sidelines for their clubs‚ but with injury and fatigue problems seemingly behind them‚ that should not be the case.