Ernst Middendorp all but rules Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune out of AFCON

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Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has reiterated that captain Itumeleng Khune has no chance of returning this season and refused to discuss his Bafana Bafana prospects.

Khune is currently nearly five months into his six-month recovery period from a shoulder injury that prematurely brought an end to his 2018/19 season in December.

Recent reports have suggested that the 31-year-old is progressing swiftly in his recovery and could make a return in time for Bafana’s upcoming Africa Cup of Nations campaign in two months’ time.

Stuart Baxter also earlier indicated that whether the influential shotstopper will be included in his squad will ultimately be down to Middendorp, who has since declared that Khune’s best bet is to remain focussed on returning at the start of next season.

“Seriously, let’s be honest, it’s nearly the end of April and until now he hasn’t [lifted his arm] over his shoulder and there’s no ball involved at all [in his rehabilitation],” said Middendorp.

“I think we should not… I don’t know, every three weeks I have to answer this question, but there is no chance – 100 percent.

“If somebody dreams about having Itu Khune into AFCON, he is not even training, it’s a totally unserious and dishonest to do something like that.

“Secondly, he should really make it happen to be very concentrated and clear structured to prepare himself to have a good start of next season.

“We have Bruce and Daniel, who are getting more and more settled, as enough goalkeepers that have high competitive qualities.

“That’s my opinion, but if the national team coach has plans to call Itu Khune into camp for AFCON, it’s his decision. Our medical department definitely has other ideas.”