Phakamani Mahlambi relishing Bafana Bafana chance

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The youngster played a key role in helping the South African Under-20 team qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be played in South Korea in May.

Following his outstanding performances for both club and country, the Bidvest Wits starlet was included in the 25-man Bafana Bafana squad to face Guinea-Bissau and Angola in international friendly matches.

He did not get to play in the 3-1 win over Guinea-Bissau, but fancies his chances in the clash against Angola on Tuesday.

“I am hoping to get a run because the coach had said there will be a rotation of players and should I get the nod, I will grab the opportunity with both hands and do the best for my country,” he said. “Obviously I want to test my readiness for the senior team, and I have to thank the technical team for selecting me.

"I trust that God protects me from any injuries as I am really looking forward to playing and showcasing my talent on a bigger stage."

The other youngster also called up to the Bafana Bafana squad is Portugal-based Luther Singh, who is Mahlambi’s teammate in the Amajita squad. Both grew up admiring senior players in the national team, and now they get to play alongside them.

“It’s an honour for me and Luther to come and play alongside the big names in South African football, and for us this is a motivation,” he said. “As you know, we are going to play in the U-20 World Cup, and being in the Bafana Bafana squad is a learning period where we need to take this experience to the U-20 squad because we want to win that tournament and not make up the numbers.”

Bafana Bafana have faced Angola on 12 occasions, winning eight times and drawing three matches while losing only once, and Mahlambi is confident of another victory.

“Yes it’s a big game against Angola, but we are not worried about them because we have a good squad of players, and we showed against Guinea-Bissau what we are capable of,” he said. “I don’t think the changes that are expected in the team will affect us much because everyone is performing well.”

The injured quartet of Mathoho (skin abrasion), Hlatshwayo (ankle), Furman (groin) and Jali (shoulder dislocation) will be assessed at the squad’s final training session at Buffalo City Stadium, where the match is taking place at 7pm on Tuesday evening.