DURBAN – The South African Football Association will definitely appeal the red card that was received by Bafana Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu this past weekend.
Bafana boosted their chances of securing a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia when they thumped Burkina Faso by 3-1 at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Bafana finished the match with 10 men after Zungu was dismissed for retaliation. The incident occurred when Kamohelo Mokotjo was fouled by Burkina Faso skipper Charles Kabore.
Kabore intentionally shielded Mokotjo by blocking him with his elbow. Zungu was incensed by Kabore’s action and retaliated.
Safa spokesman Dominic Chimhavi confirmed that they will appeal the red card received by Zungu.
“We are of the opinion that it was not a red card. The referee made a poor decision and yes, we are intending to appeal. We are confident that the decision can be reserved,” Chimhavi stated.
Zungu is currently set to miss Bafana’s two crucial World Cup qualifiers against Senegal home and away next month. Bafana need to earn victory in these matches in order to book a World Cup spot.
Bafana will be without the services of Andile Jali, who will be serving a suspension in the first game in Polokwane on November 10.
Meanwhile, coach Stuart Baxter decided to call off the national team camp earlier than expected.
Instead of dispersing on Monday afternoon, Baxter felt it would be in the best interest of the squad to release the players early to their clubs.
Bafana Bafana held a training session on Sunday at the FNB Stadium.
The players who started the match only did light work and were then rested, while the others worked with Baxter – only Itumeleng Khune (ankle sprain) and Jali (shoulder sprain) did not take part in any activities.
Others players nursing injuries were Thulani Serero (ankle), Bradley Grobler (ankle), Hlompho Kekana (ankle) and Teboho Langerman (tight calf muscles).
“After serious deliberation with the technical team, we decided that it is not in the best interests of the players to continue with another training session scheduled for Monday.
“What also pushed us to that decision was the many players carrying injuries and we felt they would be better off if given more time to rest to help them recover quicker,” said Baxter.
“We also believe this will help overseas-based players to spend a few more hours with their families than would have been possible before they jet out of the country to return to their clubs.
“On the other hand, this will assist local-based players to report early at their teams as we want to keep a healthy relationship with all the clubs – both local and overseas.”
Bafana Bafana’s next match is another crucial qualifier against Senegal. This will take place on Friday, November 10, at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane (start 7pm).
Four days later (Tuesday, November 14), they will face the same Senegal in the final match of the qualifiers. The fixture is scheduled for Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Senegal.
South Africa will have to win the two matches to book their spot in Russia – they are bottom of Group D with four points.
Isolezwe, IOL Sport