Tau and Zungu doubtful for Bafana Bafana’s Afcon qualifiers

Tau and Zungu doubtful for Bafana Bafana’s Afcon qualifiers

South Africa are second in Group C with nine points from four matches, behind Ghana on goal difference, while Sudan are in third spot with six points

Brighton & Hove Albion forward Percy Tau as well as Rangers attacking midfielder Bongani Zungu are both in doubt for Bafana Bafana’s crucial upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against Ghana and Sudan, a source inside the national team has revealed to Goal.

South Africa national team coach Molefi Ntseki last week named Tau and Zungu in the squad which is scheduled to play Ghana at FNB Stadium on March 25, before travelling to Sudan for the match at the Al Hilal Stadium just three days later.

The two UK clubs are reluctant to let the two players leave at what is a crucial time in the season, with the issue further exasperated by the Covid-19 quarantine which the players would potentially be placed under.

Should the two players join the Bafana Bafana camp, they would face difficulties returning to their clubs, due to the UK’s current travel ban on South Africans, regarding fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is currently not allowing South Africans into the country, nor are they allowing their citizens to travel to South Africa

According to the Goal source, the UK clubs have told the South African national team to ‘wait’ for confirmation as to whether or not the players will be released, which has caused a measure of ‘panic’ in the Bafana camp due to the uncertainty of the situation.

Tau’s Brighton side is currently locked in a relegation battle in the Premier League – the Seagulls are above Fulham in the drop zone only on goal difference and have picked up just two points in their last five matches since beating Liverpool.

Tau has however been used sparingly by Brighton and has featured in just two league matches, as well as three FA Cup ties since he was recalled from his loan spell at Anderlecht in January.

In fact he has not played in the Premier League since the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on January 16 and has been on the bench as an unused substitute for the past eight league matches.

He is however key to the South African team and scored three goals in his last two appearances for Bafana – in the two Afcon qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe in November last year.

Zungu’s Rangers side were meanwhile confirmed as Scottish champions for the first time in 10 years last week when they opened up an unassailable lead on their nearest rivals and old foes, Celtic.

Coached by former Liverpool player Steven Gerrard, Rangers are also still campaigning in the Europa League, which is why they would be reluctant to let Zungu go.

The 28-year-old former Mamelodi Sundowns star has featured in three Europa matches for Rangers this season and has made 12 appearances in the Scottish Premier League.

Rangers are scheduled to play Czech Republic side Slavia Praha on the 11th and 18th of March with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.

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