Pienaar dogged by injury

2011-06-02 14:05

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana will have to wait for news from medical staff to see if captain Steven Pienaar will be fit to play in their Group G 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt in Cairo on Saturday night after he limped off the training ground at the Rand Stadium on Thursday morning.

Head coach Pitso Mosimane said he would wait on the assessment of the injury before making a decision about whether the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder will play but that he will travel with the team to Cairo regardless.

“Steven went into a 50/50 challenge while trying to shoot and sustained an injury on the inside of his right knee, the ligament it looks like,” explained Mosimane.

“It's up to the (team) doctor to have a look at him now and assess him and, if necessary, he will have to have a scan done and that will tell us the extent of the injury.”

In his likely absence, Pienaar will hand the captaincy to Simphiwe Tshabalala for the match.

“He (Pienaar) is travelling with the team, we will take everybody.

“I'm always worried when I lose any player...but you just have to deal with it and if he's injured he'll be replaced,” said Mosimane.

The coach explained that the game plan against Egypt will remain the same despite the potential loss of Pienaar.

“I won't be stressing about tactics now, the guys know what they have to do.

"We have prepared well and we'll give our best, but also we need a little bit of luck.”

Bafana have risen to 38th in the official FIFA world rankings and will hope to continue their march under Mosimane's leadership.

“So far this season we haven't scored enough goals but the results have still been good. The rankings have said we're doing the right thing.

"The team is also in a very good place mentally at the moment. When you have everyone available for a game against Kenya it shows the commitment of the boys and that motivates me,” said Mosimane.

Should Niger defeat Sierra Leone in their match on Saturday in Freetown and the Pharaohs fail to beat Bafana, Egypt cannot qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Egypt against Bafana Bafana kicks off at 20:30 SA time in Cairo on Sunday.