Johannesburg – In a turn of events, Bafana Bafana striker Thabiso Kutumela is still training with the national team despite coach Hugo Broos’ statement that the player has been withdrawn after his club organised for him the vaccination jab on Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon, an agitated Broos claimed that there were people that wanted to sabotage him as it appeared that domestic football was more important than Bafana – following the recent events ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
Part of those events was Mamelodi Sundowns’ decision to organise a jab for Kutumela two days after he had assembled for the national team camp ahead of the back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia on Saturday and Tuesday.
Broos said he was forced to withdraw Kutumela from his squad to avoid any post-vaccination complications. But on Wednesday afternoon, the association refuted Broos' claims in an official statement, saying that Kutumela is still in camp.
“Kutumela is at training. He has not been withdrawn from camp. The coach expressed concern of possible withdrawal if he were to react to the vaccination. Reports have indicated otherwise,” read the statement from the camp.
The statement goes on to say that Broos was trying to explain that he might be forced to withdraw Kutumela – not that he has already. Broos, though, had already been forced to make two changes to the squad after enforced withdrawals.
Mosa Lebusa, Kutumela’s teammate, was withdrawn from the squad and replaced by Luke Fleurs after a niggling injury, while Jesse Donn replaced Goodman Mosele who didn’t report for camp on Sunday due to “personal reasons”.
Meanwhile, Bafana are expected to fly out to Ethiopia on Thursday afternoon, while they'll fly back to South Africa immediately after their game on Saturday afternoon. They'll play their last game against the Ethiopians at home on Tuesday.