Bafana Bafana were dealt a blow before their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe after defender Thibang Phete and forward Thabiso Kutumela were ruled out of the match due to Covid-19.
South Africa are set to meet the Warriors in Harare on Friday.
“While every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of the team in the ‘bubble,’ bad news struck on Wednesday morning.
Thibang Phete who plays for Portuguese club Belenenses SAD was missing from training, after his PCR (polymerase-chain reaction) test came back positive for Covid-19, and was isolated immediately.
Later it was flagged that another positive test returned for Thabiso Kutumela, as the teams results became available throughout the morning. Kutumela was also isolated,” read a statement from the South African Football Association (Safa).
Bafana team doctor Tshepo Molobi said they were not aware as to how the duo managed to contract the virus as they tried their “level best to ensure that the national team remains safe while in camp”.
“It is always daunting to try and pin-point as to where and when the infection happened. Every measure is taken to ensure the safety of everyone in the camp,” said Molobi.
Molobi added that all other tests for players and staff have returned negative and it will only be the exclusion of Phete and Kutumela who will not be traveling with the team when they depart on Wednesday afternoon.
The next round of Covid-19 tests will be done on arrival in Zimbabwe on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Mothobi Mvala is still not fully fit (groin strain) and is been kept a close eye on by the team doctor and physiotherapist, and will travel with the team.
“There is slight concern on Mvala who has a groin strain which the medical team is working on,” said Molobi.
Njabulo Ngcobo of Kaizer Chiefs has received a late call up, but not as a replacement but merely cautionary on Mvala.