Injury sidelines Orlando Pirates’ Zakhele Lepasa from Bafana squad

Bafana Bafana’s upcoming friendly international against Ivory Coast has hit a stumbling block as promising Orlando Pirates striker, Zakhele Lepasa, has been ruled out of the squad.

Lepasa, who had been expected to feature in Tuesday’s clash, did not make the trip to Abidjan, and it’s now emerged that a knee injury has dealt a blow to his international aspirations.

Bafana team doctor Thabo Maleka provided insight into Lepasa’s unfortunate situation. “Lepasa is struggling with a left knee overuse injury, which could have been exacerbated again by the recent games and also trainings,” Maleka disclosed to SAFA media.

He further elaborated on the evolving injury, stating, “On the eve of travelling, the injury became worse and therefore necessitated that he does get some investigation to actually find the degree or severity of injury in order to inform treatment.” Fortunately, Lepasa is in capable hands, with the medical team already initiating the necessary treatment to aid his recovery.

The absence of the young striker is undoubtedly a blow for the South African squad. Lepasa’s dynamic presence on the field has been pivotal for both club and country, making his absence felt in the line-up. Nonetheless, Bafana remain determined to put up a good fight in the upcoming match, and coach Maleka will have to consider alternative options to fill the void left by Lepasa.

In addition to Lepasa’s situation, Maleka also provided a reassuring update on the rest of the squad. Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who missed the previous 0-0 draw against Eswatini, is showing signs of recovery.

“So far we have a good bill of health,” Maleka said. “Even our captain is recovering very well, so that gives the coach depth in terms of who to play and how, which is a good thing in terms of fitness levels.”

This positive news on the squad’s overall fitness should boost the team’s morale ahead of the challenging encounter with Cote d’Ivoire.