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Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Thursday, 3 June 2010 15:09 UK

World Cup 2010: South Africa keeper in battle for place

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

Ithumeleng Khune is injured playing for South Africa against Colombia
Ithumeleng Khune suffered an injury playing against Colombia

South Africa goalkeeper Ithumeleng Khune has admitted that he faces tough competition for his place in the country's World Cup team.

Khune went off injured during Bafana Bafana's game against Colombia and missed the match against Guatemala.

His place was taken by Moeneeb Josephs who performed impressively - stopping a penalty in the Guatemala game.

"He showed he's a world-class keeper [and] we're now vying for the number one jersey," Khune told BBC Sport.

Khune thought his World Cup dream was over after being clattered on both the hip and head in last Thursday's 2-1 win over Colombia.

And in his absence, Josephs seized his chance with two fine performances.

"After the Colombia match, I couldn't sleep, thinking I had broken a bone, rib or perhaps torn something, but when the scan showed it was just a bruise I was mightily relieved," Khune said.

Moeneeb Josephs of South Africa
Moeneeb Josephs has played brilliantly since stepping in

"I've recovered very well and would say I'm probably at around 98% at the moment."

But having yet to fully train since his injury, the Kaizer Chiefs stopper may find his concerns increase should Josephs get another chance to impress against Denmark on Saturday.

This will be Bafana Bafana's final friendly before kicking off the World Cup on 11 June against Mexico in Group A, which is completed by France and Uruguay.

"I leave that up to the coach but whoever he selects, that's who we'll all support," Josephs, who keeps for Chiefs' great rivals Orlando Pirates, said.

"I don't think Ithumeleng has done anything wrong apart from getting injured."

Regardless of their good-natured rivalry, both players agree in their dislike of the ball which is to be used for the World Cup, known as the Jabulani.

"I don't think Fifa like goalkeepers as this ball only seems to be there for entertainment purposes," Josephs said.

"I've used it for a long time but am still not used to it as it has a mind of its own."

Khune agreed with his colleague and rival.

"This ball gives a goalkeeper nightmares - I hear people saying the keepers are poor when judging the crosses but it's the ball being used," he said.

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see also
Mokoena marks landmark in SA win
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
McCarthy dropped by South Africa
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
South Africa climb seven places
26 May 10 |  African
Mokoena says SA can win World Cup
09 May 10 |  African
Team guide: South Africa
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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