Sundowns pair ruled out for Bafana World Cup qualifiers

‘They have … had a lot of games and needed the time to bounce back to full health, and that is why they are not in camp,’ said the Bafana team doctor Tshepo Molobi.

Bafana Bafana have confirmed that Mamelodi Sundowns’ Grant Kekana and Thapelo Maseko are injured and have both been released from the squad for the upcoming 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Rwanda.

Orlando Pirates defender Thapelo Xoki and Sekhukhune United attacker Elias Mokwana have been called up to replace the Masadawana pair.

“Grant had a scan on Monday when he arrived at camp and we could not risk it. We had to let him recoup as there was no guarantee that the medical team could have him ready by Saturday in Durban or Tuesday in Rwanda next week,” said team doctor Tshepo Molobi.

“So it was best that we let him continue with treatment and allowed him the time he needed to fully recover. Thapelo Maseko’s scans also revealed that it was best to release him and let him rest as well. They have also had a lot of games and needed the time to bounce back to full health, and that is why they are not in camp.”

Bafana had already lost striker Lebo Mothiba to injury, replacing him in the squad with Pirates striker Evidence Makgopa. US-based midfielder Njabulo Blom and Burnley striker Lyle Foster could also not be named in the final squad.

Other absences

Foster has taken time out of the game to deal with mental health issues, supported fully by his English Premier League club and Bafana. Blom was criticised by Bafana head coach Broos for his attitude after the former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder was not selected.

Maseko and Kekana are part of a busy Mamelodi Sundowns side that recently played six continental matches in a very shot space of time, in winning the inaugural Caf African Football League.

So it is not surprising that this has seen some Masandawana casualties in terms of the Bafana squad. South Africa will take on Benin on Saturday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and will then play Rwanda away from home on Tuesday.

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