Cape Town - It has been confirmed that Kaizer Chiefs will be without the injured Eric Mathoho, Camaldine Abraw and Keagan Buchanan for the first game of the Absa Premiership season against Bidvest Wits on Tuesday.
Chiefs' injury concerns may come as something as a setback to coach Steve Komphela as it leaves him with a number of selection dilemmas.
Mathoho picked up an ankle injury while on duty for the South Africa under-23 national team at the Rio Olympics, while Buchanan is nursing a knee injury. Abraw, meanwhile, is ruled out for the entire season with a serious knee injury.
A boost for Komphela and Chiefs is that Siphiwe Tshabalala has returned to training following a knock he picked up in pre-season. However, who he decides to use at centre-back in the place of the injured 'Tower' remains to be seen.
Siyanda Xulu appears the most likely candidate to start against Wits, although the likes of Lorenzo Gordinho and Daniel Cardoso could also have a say. The versatile Ramahlwe Mphahlele can also operate at centre-back as he proved for Mamelodi Sundowns.
Xulu's future at Naturena appeared bleak at one stage following a below-par debut season. Nonetheless, he has been involved in pre-season and seems to be back in Komphela's plans.
The player's agent, Paul Mitchell, told the Citizen: "He has done well in pre-season and is working hard."
In central midfield, Komphela has options available to cover for Buchanan, with the likes of George Maluleka, Lucky Baloyi, Willard Katsande and Enocent Mkhabela available.
With that said, finding a long-term replacement for the hugely influential Reneilwe Letsholonyane will no doubt prove to be a major challenge. 'Yeye' left for SuperSport United after close to 10 years of service for the Glamour Boys.
In the striking department, Abraw's presence may not be missed as much - the Togo international scored just four league goals in 17 starts in 2015/16. Yet, it remains to be seen how recent signings Lewis Macha, Edmore Chirambadare and Mitchell Katsvairo will deliver in attack.
Chiefs' clash with the Clever Boys get underway from 19:30 on 23 August in Johannesburg.