Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala has called on his team-mates to be professional in the midst of a chaotic build-up to their matches against Senegal.
South Africa must beat the Teranga Lions home and away on November 10 and 14 respectively to book their spot at the World Cup next year.
But their preparations have been dealt several blows, the biggest arguably being the injury to goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune which sees his participation in doubt.
Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Hlompho Kekana is also doubtful after the recent death of a close family member, while another midfielder, Thulani Serero, refused to join up with the team after his demands for a guaranteed starting role fell on deaf ears.
In addition, Andile Jali and Bongani Zungu are both suspended.
But Tshabalala, who is set to make his first appearance in national team colours for four years, has issued a rallying cry to the troops.
"There are always challenges," the Amakhosi legend was quoted saying by The Star. "We are professionals and we need to deal with them.
"Some players are not 100 percent and others are not here yet. But it is something we have to understand and be professional about. There's still a job that needs to be done on Friday."
On a personal note, Tshabalala is looking forward to making a positive impact in whatever role he may be asked to play against Senegal.
"I haven't yet spoken to the coach about my role," he said. "But I know the importance of the game.
"It's not just important to Bafana, but the rest of the country. We need to make sure we do well at home first and then a few days later we do well in Dakar and qualify for the World Cup.
"For me, it is business as usual. I will do my best both on and off the field to help the team. I will also advise and lead through performance. I will help the best way I can."