Itumeleng Khune is fitted with a protective mask during Bafana Bafana training on Thursday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

POLOKWANE - Not that it’s much of a surprise, but goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune will start between the sticks for Bafana Bafana in their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Friday night.

The Kaizer Chiefs shot stopper had been a doubt because of a facial injury sustained last weekend, when he collided with Chippa United midfielder Kurt Lentjies while playing for his club.

He was late in arriving in camp due to appointments with at least two specialists to determine whether he could risk playing in the must-win clash. Khune himself asked the Bafana medical team to prepare a face mask as he was determined to put his body on the line.

Bafana must beat Senegal on Friday night and again on next Tuesday in Dakar to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year.

He stars alongside a familiar back four of Morgan Gould, Clayton Daniels, Thamsanqa Mkhize and Sifiso Hlanti, with the returning Mulomowandau Mathoho being left on the bench by coach Stuart Baxter.

It’s in midfield where Baxter has been forced to make changes from a line-up that was so impressive in the 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso last month.

Dean Furman replaces Bongani Zungu, while Lebogang Manyama takes the place of Andile Jali. Zungu and Jali are suspended for the home leg of the back-to-back fixtures. Percy Tau will lead the line up top.

Bafana Bafana team: Itumeleng Khune, Sifiso Hlanti, Morgan Gould, Clayton Daniels, Thamsanqa Mkhize, Dean Furman, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Themba Zwane and Percy Tau. Replacements: Wayne Sandilands, Ronwen Williams, Motjeka Madisha, Tebogo Langerman, Eric Mathoho, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Phakamani Mahlambi, Tiyani Mabunda, Keagan Dolly and Bradley Grobler.

IOL Sport

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