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Pirates injury woes a blow to Bafana ahead of AFCON

Orlando Pirates’ mounting injury woes have dealt a significant blow to Bafana Bafana ahead of the upcoming 2023 AFCON tournament scheduled for January in Ivory Coast.

This comes after Pirates’ medical team provided the club’s latest injury update as the FIFA international break is coming to an end.

Pirates went into the FIFA break with nine players on their injury list. The Bucs’ injury setbacks will take its toll on Hugo Broos’ squad selection for the AFCON competition.


Paseka Mako has been ruled out of action for six months, while captain Innocent Maela and Thabiso Monyane are racing against time to be fit for AFCON selection.

The club confirmed that Mako returned from national team duty last month “complaining of discomfort in his knee”.

The Soweto giants then decided to run tests which were carried out upon his return. The results showed that Mako suffered a Posterior Cruciate Ligament [PCL] tear ruling him out for up to six months. 

Mako has undergone a very successful surgery and is already one month post-operation.

Pirates captain Maela, who has made positive strides towards his recovery after undergoing corrective surgery on a niggling groin strain is only expected to return to training in December, which means the player might not be ready for AFCON in January.

Meanwhile, Monyane is currently in the acute phase of rehab after suffering a Grade 2 tear of the Medial Collateral Ligament [MCL] in the Soweto Derby. The Bafana Bafana international is also expected to return to training in December.

With the absence of Mako and Maela, this leaves a huge gap in the left-back position in the Bafana squad, leaving only Aubrey Modiba in that position.

To show how bad it is for Bafana, Sifiso Hlanti was selected for the national team’s preliminary squad for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers despite his lack of game time at Kaizer Chiefs.

However, Pirates have confirmed that the twelve days off came at the right time, as it has “offered some much-needed recovery time” for the club’s technical team. 

The Buccaneers’ medical team has provided an update on the injured nine players, confirming the return of Lesedi Kapinga and Kabelo Dlamini.

Orlando Pirates captain Innocent Maela working hard on his recovery.
Orlando Pirates captain Innocent Maela working hard on his recovery


Azola Matrose [Fibula]  

Having rejoined Pirates at the beginning of this campaign from Chippa United, Matrose came back carrying an injury he suffered during his loan stint at the Chilli Boys. 

The talented winger suffered a fracture which required surgery as per the report. Matrose continues to receive medical treatment. The 20-year-old is expected to return to full training in the new year.

Kabelo Dlamini [Ankle] 

On a positive note, the club’s medical team confirmed the recovery of Dlamini, who has since returned to full training last week. 

Dlamini suffered a Grade 2 tear in training on the 12th of October 2023.

Sipho Chaine [Knee] 

Bucs star goalie Sipho Chaine also continues to receive his medical treatment after suffering a Grade 1 tear. He was injured in the Carling Black Label Knockout clash against the struggling Cape Town Spurs. 

The medical team highlighted that the nature of Chaine’s injury has a 6-8 week recovery period. The shot-stopper is now four weeks post-injury.

Makhehlene Makhaula [Hamstring] 

Pirates confirmed that Makhaula is just one week away from making a full recovery. The former AmaZulu FC man spent the last 18 days recovering from a hamstring strain.

Lesedi Kapinga [Hamstring] 

Another good news is that Kapinga returned to full training. He has recovered from a Grade 2 hamstring strain which saw him sidelined for the past month. 

Kermit Erasmus [Hamstring] 

Kermit is set to return to full training today after recovering from a hamstring strain. He got injured during their 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the DStv Premiership Soweto Derby. 

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