Hlompho Kekana may start for Bafana Bafana against Namibia as Dean Furman is battling with a knee injury. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is set to field a new defensive midfielder to take on Namibia on Friday after Dean Furman was reportedly ruled out with a knee injury.

The tough-tackling Furman was injured in the 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast on Monday.

The Soccer Laduma website reported on Thursday that the SuperSport United star will not feature against their neighbours after sitting out the last two training sessions.

Baxter will most likely choose between Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana and French-based Bongani Zungu as a replacement for Furman in the must-win clash against Namibia at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo (10pm SA time kickoff).

The South Africans face another tough encounter against Morocco on Monday, so Namibia are regarded as the easiest of the three teams in the group.

Baxter, though, does not agree, and won’t be taking Ricardo Mannetti’s team lightly.

“Ivory Coast is the first game we have lost in one-and-half years, and talking of dismantling Namibia is totally disrespectful towards a team that qualified for Afcon and ran Morocco very, very close,” the coach told the Safa website on Thursday.

“Yes, our strikers didn’t fire on the day and we didn’t create a lot of goal chances. Even then, Tyson (Thulani Hlatshwayo) had a good chance, Percy (Tau) went through and could have had a penalty. We had chances, but they were not enough for us.

“I do understand the mood back home, but that is nothing new, and let’s be honest, that was a top team (Ivory Coast) we were playing.

“There were some positives, but we were not really happy with our overall performance and yes, this (Namibia game) is a massive game for us.

“The onus is on us to produce good football. If we play the way we are capable of, we can win the game, but I will not come here and disrespect our opponents.”

With the game being played late at night, it is hoped that Bafana will be able to speed up their play and take the fight to the opposition after a lacklustre performance on a hot afternoon against the Ivory Coast.

IOL Sport