Injuries plague South Africa ahead of ANZAC friendlies
South Africa face an injury crisis ahead of their tour of Australia and New Zealand with seven players set to pull out of the squad.
While South Africa's coach Gordon Igesund refused to confirm who will miss the international friendlies in Sydney and Auckland, Kaizer Chiefs revealed that three of their players were set to pull out of the squad.
Igesund's preferred goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, striker Bernard Parker and midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala need surgery, according to Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, after the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) finished on May 10.
"All three of our players will go for surgery," Baxter said on Monday.
"Parker's knee looks like he should not be playing. We gave them painkillers in our last matches. We have spoken to Igesund and their technical team and he understands the situation.
"Look, it's the doctors who made these decisions not the coaches. We have always supported Bafana by making our players available whenever they were needed."
South Africa are set to take on Australia in Sydney on May 26, in the latter's final match before they head to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup, while New Zealand will play Igesund's team four days later in Auckland.
Reports in South Africa's media claim the other four injured players are from Chiefs' arch-rivals Orlando Pirates, which would leave a significant hole in Igesund's squad, with both clubs having finished in the top four of the PSL this season.
The seven injured players have joined Crystal Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi (calf) and Rostov defender Siyanda Xulu (ankle) on the sidelines.
While the South African media consider the situation to be drastic, Igesund refused to discuss the details.
"I can't mention their names at the moment as I'm still looking for replacements," the 57-year-old former South Africa international said.
"I have about seven players reported to be injured and they will undergo medical test tomorrow.
"I have been in this situation before and survived.
"I'm hopeful I will get the right players for those who are injured."