Bafana Bafana defender Thabo Ntethe says they will be able to cope with the withdrawal of Siyabonga Sangweni due to injury.
The Orlando Pirates man – one of the national team’s stars during the Africa Cup of Nations – had to pull out of the squad ahead of Saturday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Central African Republic after aggravating a leg injury.
Gordon Igesund has called up Kaizer Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho to reinforce the heart of defence, and Nthethe says he has faith in his former clubmate’s abilities.
The Bloemfontein Celtic captain also believes that the return of Morgan Gould from injury will help to stabilise the defence ahead of the crucial encounter. “Personally I believe that not having Siya is a big blow for us,” Nthethe says. “He’s a quality player, but the player who has been called up, Mathoho, he is also very good.
“Having Morgan back means a lot because he has been here for a while and he brings a lot of experience; it makes the rest of us comfortable and we believe we can do well in this game.
“There are some players who are injured, but it’s part of the game and we just need to focus on our coming game.”
Chiefs left-back Tsepo Masilela was also forced to pull out and has been replaced by Mamelodi Sundowns’ Tebogo Langerman.
Bafana Bafana are currently in third place in Group A with two points, two behind log leaders Ethiopia and a point behind their next opponents.
However, Nthethe is hopeful they will build on their performances at the Nations Cup and make use of their home-ground advantage.
“It’s going to be a tough one although we are playing at home, but we just need to use that to our advantage,” he says.
“We are sure that our supporters will be there cheering for us and they would like to see us moving forward. We promise that we won’t disappoint them.”
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