Thu, 18 Jul 2019

Cape Town - Five Mamelodi Sundowns players that represented Bafana Bafana at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt will be given time off.

Tiyani Mabunda, captain Hlompho Kekana and the attacking trio of Themba Zwane, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Lebohang Maboe will be allowed to take at least two weeks off before re-joining their team-mates for full pre-season, the club confirmed.

While the rest of the Sundowns players have already returned and are in Mpumalanga until Saturday, the group that was with the South African national team are expected to land back in the country this weekend.

Mabunda is the only player who did not get an opportunity to play, with Kekana featuring for the full 90 minutes against Namibia and subsequent to that he came off the bench against Morocco and Egypt.

Kekana was an unused sub against Nigeria, who beat Bafana 2-1 in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night.

Zwane started in all the group stage matches against Ivory Coast, Namibia and Morocco but was suspended for the last 16 encounter against the host nation Egypt.

He returned as a second-half substitute in the defeat to the Super Eagles.

Vilakazi beat the odds to recover from a serious injury in October last year while on national team duty to make coach Stuart Baxter's AFCON squad.

Vila managed to play a role in Bafana Bafana's campaign as he featured in all the group stage matches, but only formed part of the matchday squad in the knockout phase against Egypt and Nigeria.

Sundowns top goal scorer in the Absa Premiership last season, Maboe, was among several debutants at the tournament and broke into the starting line-up in the first game against Ivory Coast.

These five players have been with the national team since June 3 and did not have an adequate pre-season break.

In managing their load, the club has agreed to give them rest to refresh and recuperate before our opening game of the 2019/20 season, which is scheduled for August 3.

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