Major blow for Bafana’s 2018 World Cup hopes


Itumeleng Khune has suffered an optical fracture and will miss the two qualifiers against Senegal over the next week as South Africa’s already-slim World Cup hopes took a major blow on Sunday‚ TIMESLive can exclusively reveal.

The country’s top goalkeeper will be out for between two and six weeks after a scan on his swollen right eye in Port Elizabeth on Sunday night showed he had a fracture on the ridge between his eye socket and nose.

He will 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 do-or-die 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 Friday 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 in Port Elizabeth.

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 also look to rip Khune round the neck in a attempt to break his fall‚ exacerbating the sickening-looking contact.

Both needed immediate treatment and both were strapped to stretchers before being taken off. Lentjies looked to suffer concussion but was back on his feet again in the change room after the game‚ said Chippa coach Tebeho 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.

Chiefs are flying back to Johannesburg on Monday morning after which Khune will go and see the specialist.

But he will not be joining up with the Bafana Bafana squad as they begin preparations for the must win qualifiers.
Bafana have to win both encounters to force an unlikely place at next year’s finals in Russia.

Khune’s absence in September saw Bafana flop in two matches against the Cape Verde Islands that virtually ended their hopes.

Goalkeeping frailties on the part of both Ronwen Williams and Wayne Sandilands left South Africa jittery at the back.

But Khune’s return to the team saw Bafana rally back last month against Burkina Faso where South Africa had a 3-1 win at Soccer City.

by Mark Gleeson – TimesLIVE


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