Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana defender Rivaldo Coetzee is unlikely to kick a ball soon.
The Mamelodi Sundowns defender has not kicked a ball since his move to Chloorkop in August, and coach Pitso Mosimane is not expecting him to do so anytime soon.
Coetzee joined the Brazilians in the off season after a foot injury prevented him from completing a dream move to Scottish champions Celtic.
“Rivaldo is a sad story,” Mosimane said this week.
He painted a rather gloomy picture for the 21-year-old.
“I have not seen him kicking a ball since he joined us. He is always in the medical room and this is worrisome. You must speak to the doctors about his situation. How long will they hide it from the public?
“His situation saddens me. He is a youngster who just wants to play football. We thought we were buying a player who could play on the left of the defence. Ricardo (Nascimento) is 32 and we saw Rivaldo as a future prospect. We were never in doubt when we bought him, but unfortunately he has not been there for us. However, it has not been a disaster at all for us because we have players who can cover for him.”
Mosimane said he was in constant discussions with the defender about his situation.
“I sometimes tell him he must go home to be with his family. I said he has to take days and go to pray or talk to his ancestors. You know what happens when you are frustrated and we are quick to judge. Me and you, when we are frustrated, we do worse things. It doesn’t matter who you are, frustration leads to stress and other things. We need to support him all the way.”
Mosimane said Coetzee’s condition was a rare one and not easy to deal with.
“The doctors are saying blood doesn’t flow into the area where he was injured. That makes his healing process cumbersome because, when the blood is not going to where you are injured, the wound will stay open. But I’m not saying he has a wound.”
The coach said they had sought advice from top specialists inside and outside the country to help the player.
“We are consulting every day and people are saying they have never seen anything like this. Is it the first time in the world this has happened? Maybe it is a case study for the world to see what the matter is.”
Mosimane said they would stand by their player and support him through his ordeal.
“Even if he goes away for six months to people who can help him and benefit him, we will be there for him. If he was 30, I would be worried. He is 21 and has nothing to lose. He is a big investment for us. My only worry is his state of mind.”
He said they had gone as far as Europe and the US to seek advice.
“We have not lost hope. I am positive,” said Mosimane.
Efforts to speak to Coetzee were unsuccessful as the player was barred from talking to the media during Sundowns’ open media day on Thursday.