CAPE TOWN – When Itumeleng Khune stayed down against Golden Arrows, the whole nation held its breath.
In typically dashing Khune style, the Kaizer Chiefs captain and goalkeeper rushed out of his 18-yard area and made a superb save at the feet of Arrows striker Knox Mutizwa in Saturday night’s Absa Premiership clash at the FNB Stadium.
While both teams had scoring chances on the night, that single save probably saved the Amakhosi’s blushes against Abafana Bes’thende, with the game ending goalless after 90 minutes.
But Khune was hurt in the collision with Mutizwa, and was eventually taken off on a stretcher after the medics stabilised his neck area with a brace.
It seemed like the injury bogey was going to strike Khune once more ahead of a big Bafana Bafana clash, with the 30-year-old from Ventersdorp having missed the consecutive 2018 World Cup qualifier defeats to Cape Verde following a chest infection.
Khune is a certainty to start for Bafana in next month’s clash against Burkina Faso, and his exceptional form in recent weeks – having won three Man-of-the-Match awards in a row – can only bode well for Stuart Baxter’s defence.
So the Bafana mentor would’ve been pleased to hear that South Africa’s No 1 should be fit to serve his country once more.
Chiefs, who are fourth on the log, said in a statement on their website that Khune had sustained a neck muscle spasm against Arrows.
“Khune fell heavily on his head,” said team doctor Hashendra Ramjee. “He had a sore neck and a headache from the clash. We took him to hospital, where he was examined. Accordingly, he was cleared of danger.
“Itu will undergo a series of checks and rehabilitation. However, he should be ready for the next match.”
That next match is on Saturday against high-flying second-placed Baroka FC at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban (6pm).