Bafana Bafana boss Shakes Mashaba is backing Itumeleng Khune to blank out Senegal’s red-hot attack this weekend.
South Africa have a must-win game against the Lions of Teranga in Polokwane to get their World Cup 2018 qualification hopes back on track on Saturday (3pm).
Senegal boast the likes of Liverpool winger Sadio Mane and Stoke target man Mame Biram Diouf up front.
But Shakes believes Itu, who he rates in the world’s top 10 goalkeepers, to keep the defence together.
“He is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in the world and I am still baffled as to why one of the top European clubs hasn’t signed him.
“He is world class and is among the top 10 goalkeepers in the world.
“With him marshalling the backline, you can be rest assured half your problems are solved.”
The fitness of Andile Jali is one of those problems, with the deep-lying player facing a late test on his thigh.
Team doctor Thulani Ngwenya says: “We need to manage him and we have been treating him here in camp hoping that he manages to play on Saturday.”
Also on Ngwenya’s injury list hopeful to recovery in time to face the Group D leaders are goalkeeper Ronwen Williams (collar bone) and Tebogo Langerman (hamstring).
Goals has been the biggest problem of course. And Shakes say he is impressed with what he has seen from new call-up Lars Veldwijk.
He says: “That’s why we brought him here – to come and help us in the problem of scoring goals.
“He would have scored more than three, but the confidence is not there yet as he just arrived for the first time.”