United: Buckley wants to win a South African trophy before he retires

2012-10-19 00:00

WHILE disappointed not to have played a part in Bafana Bafana’s two recent international friendlies against Poland and Kenya, Maritzburg United midfielder Delron Buckley has not given up on cementing a place in the national setup for next year’s African Cup of Nations.

Buckley was widely tipped to start Tuesday’s match against Kenya in Nairobi, but was left out of the starting lineup and didn’t come off the bench, meaning that he had travelled to Poland and then Kenya without adding to his 72 international caps.

“Training before the [Kenya] game, the coaching staff noticed that I was limping,” Buckley explained. “I didn’t even notice it. But my back was stiff. Gordon [Igesund] just wanted to be safe and decided not to risk anything.”

With the Nelson Mandela Challenge against Zambia pencilled in for November 14 as part of Bafana’s continued preparations for Afcon, Buckley will need to keep up his impressive league form if he wants to be included in that squad. “Obviously I would like to get my chance to show what I can do,” he said, adding how impressed he was with the national setup and coach.

“Everything is very organised and the guys are responding to Gordon. He is an excellent motivator and the boys really want to show him why they should be included in the Afcon squad.”

But while national call-ups are important, the priority for Buckley at the moment is tomorrow’s Telkom Knockout clash with Moroka Swallows at Harry Gwala stadium.

“I really missed being a part of the team while I was away with Bafana and its great to be back. I missed all the jokes,” said Buckley. “We are all looking very forward to Saturday [tomorrow]. It is a big game for me, because it is very important to me that I win a trophy in South Africa before I retire in the next several years.”

It is a game that promises to be hard fought, but United are boosted by the fact that they have an injury free squad available for the match with only Mthokozisi Yende (suspended) unavailable.

United coach Ernst Middendorp is in a positive mood.

“We have the players to deliver the performance and the development is continuing amongst the squad,” said the German. “We are well prepared, but we will need to have the intensity on the day.”

Middendorp conceded that while missing Yende was unfortunate, there were other players in the side who would be given the opportunity to step up, such as United’s goal scorer against Chippa United in the PSL Philani Zulu.

Tomorrow night’s match kicks off at 8.15 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Blitz.

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