Lars Veldwijk understanding of bench role at Bafana Bafana


Veldwijk was part of interim coach Owen da Gama's 25-man squad for their recent friendly matches against Guinea-Bissau and Angola, but failed to add a second cap to his name after making his debut in a friendly match against Mozambique in November last year.

The Netherlands-born frontman, who currently plays for KV Kortrijk in the Belgian Pro League, has struggled for game-time at his club following a change in coaches, and his struggles since continued at the national team.

However, the burly 25-year-old says he was happy at the mere fact that he was called up and understands that newer, more exciting players needed a look-in ahead of himself.

"It's not disappointing, I'm always happy when I get a call-up from the technical team," Veldwijk tells

"We had a big squad in this camp and a lot of new players that had to be introduced as well, so I hope I'll be there next time."

Veldwijk joined Kortrijk, the former club of Bidvest Wits shotstopper Darren Keet, on a free-transfer from English Championship side Nottingham Forest in August last year.

He made just three starts in the regular Pro League, which ended a fortnight ago as the campaign has reached its play-off phase, and managed a solitary goal in a 5-1 defeat to Club Brugge back in December.

Despite being on the substitutes bench for both games – on Saturday in Durban and Tuesday evening in East London – Owen Da Gama explained that a "lack of confidence" was the reason behind the former PEC Zwolle forwards omission.

"I haven't played many games at my club, I only played two or three games this season, so it has been a little difficult," he admits. "But I'm happy that I got a call-up to try and show in training what I can do – that's good enough for me."

With SAFA claiming to finalise a deal with the new Bafana coach in the coming days, Veldwijk is well aware that his place in the national team setup could be under threat if he continues to sit on the sidelines at his club.

"Yeah, I know [a new coach is coming in soon]. In the [European] summer, I might have to change something at my club because if I don't play it's difficult to get called up for Bafana Bafana," he adds.

"I know I have to play games and I have to change that at my club. Also with a new coach comes new possibilities, and you never know what he is going to do, but I hope to be in the team when he comes in."

Meanwhile, he is not ruling out the possibility of seeking greener pastures in June in order to get game-time under his belt, even though De Kerels will be competing in the UEFA Europa League play-off next month.

"Yes, I hope in June. I'm still under contract but yes [I have a few offers to conciders]," he concludes.