Khuzwayo’s dream likely to come true

2014-11-12 00:00

AFTER Brilliant Khuzwayo’s man-of-the-match performance against Orlando Pirates in September helped Kaizer Chiefs lift the MTN 8 trophy, the Umlazi-born goalkeeper expressed his desire to once again represent Bafana Bafana.

Less than two months later, that dream has now become an unlikely reality. Khuzwayo’s only international cap to date came under Pitso Mosimane when a second-string Bafana travelled to Equatorial Guinea in 2012.

Though he is not assured of a start in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations clash against Sudan in Durban, Khuzwayo yesterday took his place alongside Darren Keet and Siyabonga Mpontshane to form Bafana’s latest shot-stopping trio.

The circumstances are obviously not ideal. Senzo Meyiwa’s untimely death has forced coach Shakes Mashaba into giving the gloves to an international novice as Itumeleng Khune continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Khuzwayo, though, has seized his opportunity at Chiefs in Khune’s absence and is an outside bet to be given the nod for Saturday. Keet is surely the favourite after having been a part of Bafana’s qualifying campaign from the very beginning, but Mashaba’s inclination to back young, local players could come into play. Only a year separates Keet (25) and Khuzwayo (24), but the fact that the former plays out of Belgium could work in the latter’s favour. Either way, Khuzwayo will learn a lot this week.

“I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything at this stage,” Khuzwayo said when asked about his chances of starting on Saturday.

“I have to respect whatever the coach decides. It’s not about me, it’s about South Africa. Whoever gets given the nod to play will have me fully behind them, and if I get given the nod they will be fully behind me.”

Khuzwayo added that he is expecting a fiery affair, but said the mood in the camp was a positive one despite the emotional nature of the past few weeks.

“It’s a great feeling being in camp and a great feeling being at home. There is a lot of national pride here,” he said. “Right now we are looking forward to the game … There is so much at stake in this match.”

Bafana are top of Group A and undefeated in four matches without conceding a goal along the way — an enviable record. They beat Sudan 3-0 away from home in their first qualifier — a result that has set the tone for the rest of the campaign. But Khuzwayo insists the squad are very firmly grounded and that they are not taking anything for granted.

“I think we are all very professional,” he said. “Having beaten them away is not going to help us now. The only thing that matters is here and now and the game that is ahead of us.”

Kick-off is at 3 pm.

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