Having reached their first-ever cup quarterfinal‚ Chippa United now find themselves in a major injury crisis as they prepare to take on Jomo Cosmos in the last eight of the Nedbank Cup in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.
Diminutive midfielder Buyile Sali is the latest player out after a crunching tackle by Lorenzo Gordinho of Kaizer Chiefs at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit last week ruled him out for the rest of the season.
“Sali sustained tibial fracture during Saturday’s match. Contact on the inside of his right tibia from the opponent resulted in the fracture.
“He will be in a cast for six weeks and will be sidelined for the rest of the season‚” said club spokesman Luthando Zibeko on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and centre back Justice Chabalala both hobbled through the weekend loss to Chiefs and returned to Port Elizabeth to work separately from the rest of the squad.
“They are both training under the watchful eye of the physio and will probably need fitness tests before they can be passed to play at the weekend‚” Zibeko added.
Also needing to be tested before he can return is rightback Diamond Thopola‚ who came back from Bafana Bafana duty at the end of last month with a hip injury.
Chippa will be particularly light upfront where Rhulani Manzini missed the Chiefs game because of a groin injury.
Katlego Mashego and David Zulu are still on the injury list.
Zulu has only started jogging but is still weeks away from a return.
Utility player Siyabonga Ngubane is also out but defenders Bernard Kama and Mpho Mvelase have both returned to training and are in contention for selection for the cup tie.
Before this year‚ Chippa had never won a Nedbank Cup match but with home advantage on Saturday will fancy they can continue progressing.
They beat Witbank Spurs and Polokwane City in their previous two rounds and have had the advantage of being drawn at home in all their matches this year.