Itumeleng Khune is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury‚ ruling him out of Kaizer Chiefs’ bid to get back among the trophies over the next five months plus South Africa’s battle for African Nations Cup qualification.
Khune suffered a shoulder injury in training‚ according to officials‚ but Chiefs have given no further details.
Their website on Sunday offered injury updates on other players but totally ignored the plight of their captain and longest serving player.
But coach Ernst Middendorp provided some clarity at the end of Saturday’s game against champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
“I can answer you quite quick. The season is finished for Itu Khune. That’s it. You will see him in the new season‚” the German mentor said.
Khune sat with his shoulder in a sling in the stands at Soccer City on Saturday as Virgil Vries deputised for him and made a horror error which cost the home side the game.
Vries misjudged a long ball into his area‚ allowing it to bounce over his head for Sundowns’ late winner in their 2-1 victory at Soccer City.
Khune had also been out late month with a mysterious finger injury and missed the first two matches of Middendorp’s reign against SuperSport United in Nelspruit and Elgeco Plus in Durban.
But he did play in the last game of 2018 away in Madagascar in the second round of the African Confederation Cup.
Just how Khune cut his finger is a subject Chiefs have avoided explaining‚ suggesting some embarrassment around the incident.
His absence for the rest of the league season‚ where Chiefs still have hopes despite Saturday’s loss‚ as well as the Confederation Cup and Nedbank Cup campaigns is a major setback.
It will also come as a blow to national coach Stuart Baxter as he prepares for March’s key Nations Cup qualifier away against Libya.