Bongani Zungu is a doubt for Glasgow Rangers’ Scottish Premiership clash with Aberdeen FC after suffering a knee injury whilst away on international duty with South Africa, according to The Daily Record.
Steven Gerrard has since confirmed the South Africa international will await further assessment before being declared fit to face the Dons at Ibrox on Sunday afternoon, having played twice for the Bafana-Bafana during the international break.
The Ibrox boss is hopeful that Zungu will be able to feature this weekend but will wait for further confirmation whilst Steven Davis is also a doubt after withdrawing from the Northern Ireland squad last week, citing “personal reasons.”
Rangers signed Zungu from French Ligue 1 side Amiens on an initial loan deal on deadline day with the option to buy but the South African has had to bide his time at Ibrox so far this season, having been handed his first-team debut in the 8-0 win over Hamilton Academical this month.
The “special” former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder received a solid rating of 6.7 from SofaScore for his performance, after he took 40 touches of the ball, made 35 out of 38 passes (92%), and produced three out of four attempted long balls, but failed to win a single ground duel all game, lost possession four times and committed one foul.
His injury blow could give the ever-reliable Ryan Jack the time to shine to preserve and protect his Ibrox career amid competition for places in the starting line-up.
Jack started the Hamilton thrashing before the unsung hero was replaced by Zungu as Gerrard rang several changes at half-time, having played an important role as the Gers put the Accies to the sword, with the 28-year-old providing more key passes (2), winning more ground duels (1) and taking more touches of the ball (53) than his clubmate plus one tackle and four interceptions, per SofaScore.
The former Aberdeen midfielder, who was signed by Gerrard’s predecessor Pedro Caixinha on a free transfer in the summer of 2017, received praise from the Ibrox boss earlier this week, with Gerrard admitting he is confident that the Scotland international can take his game to the next level, saying: “His consistency has been fantastic to see and it’s no surprise with the way he goes about his daily routine and business.
“He does everything right at the gym, he eats well and he trains and prepares every single day for the game at the weekend or midweek.
“So it’s no surprise that Ryan finds that level of consistency because he does everything right.”
It’s fair to say that his career has been plagued by persistent injury problems, with the Scotsman sustaining a calf injury during the game against Dundee United, which forced him to miss five games this season so far. His issues have meant that Jack, who reportedly receives wages worth £12,000-per-week, has missed 46 games for the Gers in all competitions in total.
A consistent, injury-free spell in the starting line-up could remove any potential concerns over his fitness levels, and allow him to preserve his place in the starting line-up, whilst he has been subject to interest from clubs across Europe in the past, including Premier League clubs south of the border.