CAPE TOWN – He lay on the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium pitch with his head in his hands, and was rolling round on the ground, writhing in pain.
But one thing we know about Itumeleng Khune is that he is a fighter, and he is proving that now.
Khune had to be taken off on a stretcher in the closing stages of Kaizer Chiefs’ 1-0 Telkom Knockout quarter-final victory over Chippa United in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, and we all feared the worst.
The Kaizer Chiefs captain had been involved in a massive collision with Chippa United star Kurt Lentjies. Khune had caught the ball just before Lentjies, who seemingly was unable to avoid the contact and clattered into Khune – pulling the goalkeeper by the neck in trying to break his own fall.
Both players stayed down and received treatment, and Daniel Cardoso eventually replaced his skipper in goal.
But after displaying irresistible form over the last few weeks, it appeared as if Khune’s rotten luck with injuries would strike again and rule him out of yet another vital set of Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Bafana Bafana take on Senegal this Friday in Polokwane (7pm) and then on Tuesday again in Dakar, and need Khune between the sticks to give themselves the best possible chance of victory.
Kaizer Chiefs announced on Monday morning that “Captain Itu has a fracture to a bone in his face. He will see a specialist regarding this and we will update you after”.
Injury Update: Captain Itu has a fracture to a bone in his face. He will see a specialist regarding this and we will update you after pic.twitter.com/nFBD2ni2ZT
So that means that Khune has not yet been officially withdrawn from the Bafana camp.
The SA Football Association announced on Monday that most of the national team players have reported to camp in Polokwane, except for the Chiefs players who were travelling from Port Elizabeth.
More will be revealed at 3pm on Monday, when Bafana will hold a press conference in Polokwane.