Percy Tau and Teboho Mokoena have been ruled out of Bafana Bafana’s international friendly match against Uganda at Orlando Stadium on Thursday after testing positive for Covid-19.
Midfielder Sipho Mbule is being closely monitored after coming into contact with his SuperSport United teammate Mokoena.
There are also injury concerns in the Bafana camp as the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of defender Mosa Lebusa and the versatile Rivaldo Coetzee are in a fitness race.
Lebusa lasted just 30 minutes in Sundowns’ final Premier Soccer League match against Cape Town City last Saturday while Coetzee was ruled out of that game.
But it is the absence of Tau which has headlined Bafana’s build-up to the Uganda clash, with Hugo Broos’ assistant coach Cedomir Janevski highlighting the Brighton and Hove Albion attacker’s qualities.
“Everybody knows the quality of Percy Tau,” said Janevski as per Phakaaathi.
“He was a player at Bruges, my ex-team, he was in Anderlecht, he is an important player for the national team of South Africa. We hope for the next camp he will be ok.
"He has the skills, he is [now] in England, he has a good mentality and can give his quality not just individually but around the players who will be with him in the next game of qualification [ the World Cup].”
“I know it is also the end of the season, the last game finished last weekend, we should normally have more days to prepare. It is not just physical preparation, just to meet each other. I hope before the September qualification time we have more [time].”
Janevski and fellow assistant coach Helman Mkhalele will take charge of the Uganda match in the absence of Broos, who is in Belgium to receive his second Covid-19 jab.
Before returning to Belgium, Broos selected a younger squad for the Uganda match.
Big names like captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, Themba Zwane, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, Andile Jali, Sifiso Hlanti, Ben Motshwari and Ruzaigh Gamildien were all dropped.
Orlando Pirates midfielder Thabang Monare is the only player above the age of 30 in the squad but Broos said the door has not been shut for the overlooked senior players.
After Thursday’s friendly, Bafana will then face Zimbabwe and Ghana in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers in September.