AmaZulu’s Van Heerden has had a ‘crazy two weeks’

2013-08-23 00:00

NO ONE in the country has had a better start to the domestic season than AmaZulu’s Marc van Heerden.

What has been a “crazy two weeks” for the left back started with a 1-0 win away to Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in the PSL season opener, before he made his Bafana Bafana debut in a 2-0 win over Burkina Faso on Saturday.

Not bad going for a man who, at just 25 years old, has already had more injuries than some players have in an entire career. But the set piece specialist is back to his best and has caught the attention of national coach Gordon Igesund this season.

“The win against Pirates away was a big bonus for us, and then the [Bafana] call-up was obviously a massive achievement for me personally,” Van Heerden told The Witness yesterday. “It has definitely been two weeks full of emotion.”

While Van Heerden modestly said that his debut for Bafana “couldn’t have gone better”, he was an inch away from becoming the first South African defender in history to score on debut when his second half free kick cannoned back off the woodwork.

“I was just telling myself to get it on target and make the ’keeper work,” he said of his effort. “It would have been a dream come true to score, but the team getting the result made it even more memorable.”

As well as things are going for Van Heerden at present, he will have to turn his attention back to the PSL for a match on Tuesday that is sure to be far less glamorous than the last two he has played in. League action resumes in midweek, and AmaZulu are home to newly promoted Mpumalanga Black Aces at Princess Magogo Stadium.

“I have been training with the squad all week so I am fully focused on PSL duty again,” said Van Heerden, who added that it was important for the squad to stay grounded after their triumph over Pirates. “Obviously, confidence in the squad is high after the Pirates win, but us senior players are trying to keep everyone level-headed.”

With a new-look squad assembled by coach Craig Rosslee, Usuthu have now created high expectations from their fans and critics, and Van Heerden said that the new signings had all fitted into the squad effortlessly.

“We have all started to gel together,” he said. “Everyone is working hard and is in really good shape.”

While all of the Usuthu squad will be fired up for Tuesday night’s clash, Van Heerden might have a little extra fire in his belly. That match will be played a few hours after Igesund names his squad for Bafana’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Botswana in Durban on September 7.

“I’m not getting my hopes up. Obviously it would be fantastic and if the news comes it might give me a boost on Tuesday night,” he said. “I think the important thing is to focus on the club. Doing well there is what gets you noticed nationally.”

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