South Africa coach Mkhalele loses players ahead of 2022 Chan qualifier against Comoros

Helman Mkhalele, Bafaba Bafana, June 2021Backpagepix

South Africa's interim head coach Helman Mkhalele is scrambling for players ahead of the national team’s 2022 Chan qualifiers.

South Africa will be away to Comoros in the first-round first-leg clash on Friday, before hosting the Coelacanths on July 30. 

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Mkhalele was hoping to keep the squad which recently participated in the 2022 Cosafa Cup in Durban, but some PSL clubs have recalled their players. 

“We are not releasing [players]. Our three boys [captain Kegan Johannes, Thapelo Maseko and Selaelo Rasebotja] hardly had any off-season and were released for Cosafa," SuperSport United CEO Stan Matthews told SABC Sport.

"But now we have a new coach [Gavin Hunt], who has not worked with them and we are two weeks away from the league season. So we simply, cannot release them at this time.

“We remain committed to Safa and the national teams and make every effort to release players, even when it’s not in the Fifa calendar. It’s unfortunate that we cannot release these players at this time.”

While Maritzburg chairman Farouk Kadodia said: “Yes, Rowan Human is coming back [to the club].” The attacking midfielder was one of Bafana's better performers at the Cosafa Cup. 

Stellenbosch FC have also recalled Jayden Adams, Antonia Van Wyk and Lebohang Nthene. Stellies were open to releasing Athenkosi Mcaba, but the defender is currently injured. 

“As it stands, only Athenkosi Mcaba was selected but he has an injury and we are still in talks about allowing him to go. The other three [Jayden Adams, Antonia Van Wyk and Lebohang Nthene] have returned for pre-season,” confirmed coach Steve Barker when speaking to the SABC.

However, some positive news for Mkhalele is that Chippa United have allowed both Zuko Mdunyelwa and Azola Matrose to travel with South Africa for the first-leg clash on Friday.

“They came back after the Cosafa Cup but we have opted to give them permission to go represent their country,” said Chippa team manager Wanda Mbenguzana said when to speaking the national broadcaster.

The 2022 Chan finals will be hosted by Algeria in January next year.

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