Saturday Oct 12, 2019. 14:00
Mali’s top striker Moussa Marega will lining up with the side to face South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge on Sunday after being given time off by coach Mohamed Magassouba.
The FC Porto striker is the kingpin of the Mali attack and one of the top African performers in the European leagues — and would have been a real test for the Bafana Bafana defence — but because of ‘muscle fatigue’ did not travel to Port Elizabeth for Sunday’s friendly international.
The French-born Marega was a regular throughout the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last year and played at the finals in Egypt too, where Mali were knocked out in the round of 16.
Marega, 28, had just two weeks holiday after the tournament in Egypt, according to Porto, and after playing in 47 league and cup games last season was struggling with fatigue.
This season he has played more minutes for the club, who sit third in the log table, than any other player, with Porto competing not only in domestic league and cup matches but also in the Europa League.
He will spent the next fortnight resting in Portugal, his club said.
Mali’s squad for the match at the Nelson Mandela Stadium has been severely affected by withdraws.