Mabunda replaces Sundowns teammate Kekana in Bafana Bafana squad

Bafana Bafana have been dealt a blow following the withdrawal of the Masandawana captain

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana has been forced to withdraw from Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana squad to take on Nigeria in a crunch Africa Cup of Nations qualifier after failing to recover from injury.

Kekana has become an integral figure in the national team set up in recent years, and his withdrawal comes as a big blow to the midfield which has already been weakened by the unavailability of Kamohelo Mokotjo, who had to undergo surgery.

Nonetheless, Baxter has called up Kekana’s Masandawana teammate Tiyani Mabunda, for the upcoming match on June 10.

Meanwhile, the match also signals a new dawn for Bafana with Baxter returning to helm of the South African national team and the South African Football Association (Safa) has confirmed an interim technical team for the upcoming match.

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Experienced Goalkeeper coach Alex Heredia will join Molefi Ntseki and Thabo Senong on the bench alongside the Briton. However, former assistant coach Owen Da Gama has been a notable exclusion from Baxter’s technical team.

Most of the Bafana Bafana team had reported for camp on Sunday with the exception of Dean Furman and Ronwen Williams who are expected to link up with the squad on their arrival back in South Africa following their exploits in Lubumbashi with SuperSport United.

Bafana are scheduled to leave for Nigeria on Wednesday.