Bafana Record holder Rivaldo thanks Mathoho following Afcon qualifier against Congo


Coetzee, who turns 18 on Thursday, was a surprise starter in Bafana's 2-0 victory over Congo in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Pointe Noire. The Ajax Cape Town starlet broke Aaron Mokoena's long-standing record, with 'Mbazo' making his Bafana bow when he was 18 years, two months and 26 days old. 

Coetzee told Safa's website: "I know it was not easy but playing with the guys around me, especialy Mathoho, who is a good motivator but doesn’t talk a lot. The things he does on the field really motivate me, and help me to do better because when he is doing something good I want to do the same so that the combination between us can be tight. It really wasn’t easy but for me as a young boy, but the guys said to me I must play my normal game like I do at training and everything will be all right."

Coetzee said he was taken by surprise when national team coach Ephraim Mashaba told him he would feature against the Red Devils, who will revive Group A hostilities with Bafana in Polokwane on Wednesday.

"I heard the night before the game after supper that I was going to start, and I was very shocked because I did not expect that as there are more senior players than me in the squad, and they are also more experienced. They have also played on the continent and know it very well so it was really a shock but it shows that the coach has faith in me."

Coetzee admitted he was "really nervous" on hearing the news.

"Yes I did sleep, but I wanted to sleep the whole night and the whole day and didn’t want the time to move. I really wanted the time to stand still because I was very nervous. I kept telling myself that I don’t think I am ready, maybe I must tell the coach to leave me out of the team."

He added: "On our way to the stadium we were singing in the bus, and that also calmed me down. Getting into the stadium and seeing all the fans, I knew that back at home everyone is watching the game and supporting me. I couldn’t disappoint. I just had to come out of my shell and put up a good performance."