JOHANNESBURG – Despite the return of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune from an illness, Kaizer Chiefs on Monday evening confirmed that they would be without fullbacks Tsepo Masilela, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Sibusiso Khumalo through injury.
Khune had missed the club’s opening two Absa Premiership matches away to Bloemfontein Celtic and at home to SuperSport United in August because of a chest infection, which also forced him to withdraw from Bafana Bafana’s back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde last week.
His availability is a welcome boost for coach Steve Komphela, who is yet to taste victory in this new campaign, having lost twice to SuperSport in the league and in the MTN8, as well as only managing a 1-1 draw against Celtic.
But his job doesn’t get easier now that Masilela, Mphahlele – the Chiefs player of the year last season – and Khumalo are all out injured.
Masilela and Khumalo shared the left back position in the previous campaign, but the former was the one selected so far this season.
Mphahlele was consistent and was seldom left out, and that form looked to continue until he suffered a knee injury while playing for Bafana in the 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde last Tuesday in Durban.
Masilela will miss three months of action and Khumalo just three weeks, while Mphahlele looks set to miss the rest of 2017 – including Bafana’s remaining qualifiers against Burkina Faso in October and the two matches against Senegal in November.
To test whether beleaguered Komphela can do without these players, Chiefs will face high-riding Cape Town City at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
That is followed by a home fixture against reigning league champions Bidvest Wits on Saturday.
Kaizer Chiefs’ injury list
Sibusiso Khumalo – out for three weeks
Tsepo Masilela – out for three months
Ramahlwe Mphahlele – out for four months
Teenage Hadebe – expected back in full training in eight weeks
Emmanuel Letlotlo – expected back in four months after operation during pre-season