If Ernst Middendorp’s assessment of the recovery made by Itumeleng Khune since being ruled out of the rest of the season is anything to go by, then Bafana fans can forget about seeing the veteran goalkeeper lining up with the national side in Egypt.
The 31-year-old suffered a shoulder injury in December 2018, and has been out of action since – missing Bafana’s decisive 2-1 victory over Libya, which booked them a place to the continental showpiece to be held in Egypt.
However, recent comments from national coach Stuart Baxter have indicated that the shot-stopper is well on his way back to match-fitness, but the German mentor has poured water over any hopes of him showing up in Bafana colours.
“Ja, let’s be honest, today is nearly the end of April, and until now he has not even trained with any ball involved at all,” Middendorp told the media on Wednesday.
“So I think, actually, it should not really be that every three weeks I have to answer this question.
“But there is no chance, 100%, if somebody dreams about having Itu Khune at AFCON, when he is not even at training.
“Sorry, it is totally not serious, it is dishonest.
“And secondly, he should really make it happen to be very concentrated and clear-structured to prepare himself to have a good start of the [2019-20] season.
“We have Bruce Bvuma and we have Daniel Akpeyi who are getting more and more settled in, they are definitely goalkeepers who have a high quality competitive level.
“That’s my opinion. But if the national team coach (Stuart Baxter) has an idea to call in Itu Khune for AFCON, that’s his decision.
“That’s my opinion. But if the national team coach (Stuart Baxter) has an idea to call in Itu Khune for AFCON, that’s his decision.”
Khune made his international debut against Zimbabwe on 11 March 2008, and has gone on to earn 89 caps, making him the most capped South African goalkeeper in history.