Knocking on Bafana Bafana’s door

2014-11-16 15:00

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It’s just a matter of time before Polokwane City’s leading marksman Puleng “Y-Tjukutja” Tlolane earns a Bafana Bafana call-up.

This was the bold prediction from Boebie Solomons, the former City coach who handed Tlolane regular game time in the 23-year-old’s debut in top-flight football last season.

His goal-scoring rate underlines the pedigree of a lad who only pursued his dream of playing at the top when he passed trials at second division side Winners Park, which is also City’s feeder team, two years ago when he had just turned 21.

Solomons went as far as comparing Tlolane to Bafana and Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Thulani Serero.

“He [Tlolane] is a future Bafana player and Shakes [Mashaba] is well aware of him. He’s got natural ability, character and football intelligence; he’s the same type of a player as Serero.”

Tlolane has not represented the country at any level before, but he fancies his chances of “making it into Bafana” and ultimately realising his dream of “playing in Europe one day”.

Tlolane has now rattled the net six times in seven starts in the current campaign, a feat that is one strike short of matching his seven-goal haul in 27 league matches last season.

This is a figure the man born on Human Rights Day believes he can double considering his ever-improving goal-scoring record.

Tlolane was his club’s second top scorer with seven league goals (10 in all competitions) when City gained Premiership promotion from the National First Division two seasons ago.

Describing his role, Tlolane – the ­­last-born in a family of five children – said he enjoyed playing as a shadow striker.

“I used to play on the wing, but I am mostly effective as a second striker. I enjoy making runs into spaces and my team-mates understand this aspect of my game very well,” said Tlolane, who hails from Zebediela in Limpopo.

His place of birth is not only well known as a producer of citrus fruit – ZB (as Zebediela is also called) is also home to Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Hlompho Kekana and Moroka Swallows anchorman Lantshene Phalane.

Sundowns assistant coach Alex “Barnes” Bapela is also one of Tlolane’s famous homies.

With Mashaba known for rewarding form, Tlolane’s three goals in the past two league fixtures – a brace in the 5-2 hammering of Free State Stars and one in the 2-0 win over Bidvest Wits – is a performance worth taking note of.

Chippa United striker David Zulu, who is trailing Tlolane by a goal in the race for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot Award, was part of Bafana Bafana’s bench in the past four Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

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