BAFANA Bafana assistant coach, Helman “Midnight Express” Mkhalele, is ready to fly solo on the touchline when they take on Ugandan Cranes in a friendly at Orlando Stadium on Thirsday afternoon (6pm).

Mkhalele, who is the second assistant to head coach Hugo Broos, will be thrown in the deep end to lead the youthful Bafana side.

Broos’ first assistant, Cedomir Janevski, has been ruled out after he tested positive for Covid-19 just a few hours before the match.

Mkhalele admitted that this was not an ideal situation for the team, but it would not change much as he is ready to take the bull by the horns.

“I have always believed that any unfavourable situations arise, so I’m always prepared,” said Mkhalele.

“A situation like this is a challenge, but I’m positive to go out there and face the challenge for my country, and my fellow coaches (Broos and Janevski). I am also confident because I have players who are willing to die for the team.”

It was also confirmed that six players were ruled out of the match due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the squad.

Talisman Percy Tau, SuperSport United duo Teboho Mokoena and Sipho Mbule, as well as Mamelodi Sundowns trio Mosa Lebusa, Rivaldo Coetzee and Mothobi Mvala are all ruled out.

“Yes, we are affected. But again we are a team that had been prepared for any situation,” admitted Mkhalele.

“We have cover in every department.”

In a Bafana squad filled with new faces, goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is one of the more experienced goalkeeper players and he is relishing the leadership role he has to play.

The SuperSport shot stopper will be the captain of Bafana, and he will be assisted by Orlando Pirates’ Innocent Maela as vice-captain.

He is looking forward to leading what has been described as the “new dawn” for Bafana, as the rebuild begins ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

“If you can see the team that’s been assembled, it’s a new team. There are a lot of new faces,” said Williams.

“It is a new dawn in that sense. But Bafana have always been there. We are just continuing where the previous teams left off.

“It’s for the new players to grab the opportunity with both hand. On a personal note, I’m just happy to be part of it.”