Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune is back in the Bafana Bafana fold despite struggling for form at club level.
Bafana take on Ghana at the FNB Stadium on 25 March before going away to Sudan three days later and eyebrows were raised when Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki named Khune in the squad.
Ntseki’s men are currently second in Group C of the Afcon 2021 qualifiers after four games played in the campaign.
At a media briefing on Thursday morning at Safa House, Ntseki defended the call-up of Khune.
“When it comes to training and his conduct at the club, the coach is very happy with him in terms of being on time for training and in also giving his best,” he said.
“Seeing him playing in the past two matches, it was based on the attitude he was showing at training and the club felt that they need to give him a chance. He has since been doing well, apart from conceding the four goals against (Wydad) Casablanca over the weekend.
“Any human being has got those bad patches in life and I think Itumeleng Khune is not different. We are just looking forward to bringing in an Itumeleng Khune who will be focused in the camp and who will help the team going forward,” added Ntseki.
The 33-year-old Khune has made 12 competitive appearances this season for ‘Amakhosi’, conceding 18 goals with three clean sheets to his name.
He was included in the squad alongside SuperSport United’s Ronwen Williams and Veli Mothwa of AmaZulu.
Ntseki went on to reveal that he had a telephonic conversation with Khune before naming his squad for the Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan.
“Recently I also spoke to Itumeleng about his situation. We had a very lengthy telephonic discussion, and he was explaining to me what he is going through as a person,” explained Ntseki.
“What I said to him is that ‘you must also consider giving respect to your career and giving respect to the profession you are in.
“You are not growing any younger, (so) it’s also important for you to be a leader in terms of how you do things’,” concluded the Bafana mentor.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi