Upon breaking the news recently to his family that he’s been called up to Bafana Bafana, Kaizer Chiefs’ striker Ashley Du Preez’s mother burst into tears, he revealed.
The 24-year-old has been roped into the senior national team as a late replacement for injured striker Lyle Foster.
Bafana are currently in camp, preparing for back-to-back friendly matches against Sierra Leone on Saturday and Botswana on Tuesday, with both games set to take place at the FNB Stadium.
Belgium-based Foster was withdrawn from the squad on Tuesday and in came Du Preez.
The Amakhosi star through a Safa media channel said:
“I was at practice at Chiefs, and on my way home, I received a call [from the Bafana camp]. At that moment, I was just overwhelmed. I don’t have the words to express the feeling. But, I wanted this opportunity [and] it’s here now. I’ll grab it with both hands. I am enjoying every moment.”
Du Preez, who joined Chiefs during pre-season, added that his call-up was not only a dream come true as a footballer, but the move would also serve as inspiration to those who looked up to him back home in Stellenbosch.
“It’s a big deal for me to think about where I grew up as a kid. It was rough, but I couldn’t do anything else but play this game. Turn my dream into a reality.
“As a young player watching Bafana Bafana, I looked up to the players [back then] and now, I am here. I think every player wants to make their mark and that’s exactly what I want to do.
“I want to do the same and show the world what Ashley Du Preez is capable of.
“This is huge for my family and the community, [especially] the young kids who look up to me. I want to be an example for the rest of my career, while I provide for my family.
“I want to take this career and dream forward.”
As for his few months at Chiefs, Du Preez said he’s gradually adapting and it was a good decision to move away from his comfort zone, where he was a hero for home town club Stellenbosch over the years.
“I don’t think it was a rushed decision [to join Chiefs]. I thought about it carefully and it was clear that I wanted to be away from home [to gauge myself]. It wasn’t a big deal to come to Gauteng because I wanted to play for Chiefs.” He said:
Since he joined Chiefs, Du Preez has featured in six games and scored two goals.
He is one of the three forced changes that Bafana head coach Hugo Broos made this week.
Azerbaijan-based defender Siyanda Xulu replaced Thibang Phete, while Mamelodi Sundowns’ recruit Terrence Mashego made way for Richards Bay left-back Siyanda Msani.
In welcoming Du Preez, Broos said: “It’s a good opportunity for him also to show us what his qualities are and if we can keep him with the group for the next games.
“There are many changes since Morocco camp [in July for the Afcon qualifier that Bafana lost 1-0 in Rabat against the north Africans]. I hope little by little, I’ll have a selection that is not changed so much like in the past. It is important to work with nearly the same group. Let’s hope this is the start now and prepare well for the next match against Liberia [the Afcon qualifier that has been postponed to March next year].