After an eight-hour trip, which included a stopover in Luanda, Bafana Bafana safely arrived at their hotel in Benguela, Angola, on Tuesday where they will take on the host nation Round 2 of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia qualifiers.
All 25 players – with the inclusion of late call-up goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands of Mamelodi – made the trip to Angola.
Sandilands took the place of the injured Itumeleng Khune who is suffering from a knee injury that prevented him from playing in last weekend’s Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates.
The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper reported for national team duty on Sunday and was released from the squad after being assessed by the Bafana medical team.
His club mate Brilliant Khuzwayo was called up as a replacement but was unable to honour the call-up owing to family commitments.
The other two goalkeepers in the squad are Jackson Mabokgwane and Ronwen Williams.
“There is no need to panic with Khune not available. He has been doing well for us since he came in but he is not here and I believe any of the three goalkeepers that we have will step up to the plate,” said Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba.
Four other Bafana players are undergoing treatment. Mabokgwane and Lehlohonolo Nonyane are both suffering from right knee pains, Erick Mathoho has a calf strain while George Lebese has a hamstring strain.
“Theirs are not serious injuries, that’s why we have kept them in camp with us. We will just be monitoring them over the next few days. They are undergoing treatment and should be ready on match day,” said Bafana medico Dr Thulani Ngwenya.
Bafana will have two training sessions on Wednesday and their final one on Thursday before tackling Angola on Friday at the Ombaka National Stadium in Benguela.
“You know why you are here, none of you needs a reminder. We are playing crucial World Cup qualifiers and you all are aware there is a lot at stake. I believe we have a team to give us positive results, we have no doubt there. We cannot afford to slip up,” said Mashaba as he addressed the team upon arrival in Benguela.
The South Africans will fly out of Angola on Saturday to Durban via Johannesburg. The second leg will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium next Tuesday. Kickoff is at 7pm.
Meanwhile Amajimbos head coach Molefi Ntseki is part of the travelling squad as he is standing in for Owen da Gama who is preparing the under-23 squad for the upcoming CAF under-23 Afcon, which will take place in Senegal from the end of this month.