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Bafana have been dealt a blow after Benni McCarthy and Erick Mathoho withdrew from their Johannesburg training camp through injury

It is highly unlikely the pair will be risked for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, a huge disappointment for Orlando Pirates striker McCarthy and Chiefs defender Mathoho.  

McCarthy is suffering from a troublesome hamstring while Mathoho has a knee injury.

“It is a blow when any player called up for the national team pulls out due to injury. It would have been a great situation to have both of them here,” said national team coach Gordon Igesund.

Meanwhile, Ayanda Patosi and Andile Jali were given a break from Thursday’s training as a precautionary measure. Both have niggling ankle injuries but are expected to join their teammates at training on Friday.

Due to club commitments, England-based Kagisho Dikgacoi and Dean Furman, as well as Darren Keet, who plays in Belgium, will not be part of the training camp.

“I already have 19 players in my mind but I still have some decisions to make for the rest, so there are still some places up for grabs,” Igesund says.

“These are exciting but also testing times for me and the players because at the end of the day only 23 players can make the squad. We saw in the match against Malawi that all players want to be part of this fiesta. But it does not mean if players are excluded from the Afcon squad it is the end of the road, we still have plenty of tournaments to come,” added Igesund.

“What I am happy about is the great vibe in the squad and you can see all the players are eager to do their best which makes life harder for me and my technical team.”

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