Bafana Bafana’s latest debutant has spoken out about his call-up to the senior national and his desire to stamp his authority in laying the foundation for his international career.
Athenkosi Mcaba might still be a fresh name in the DStv Premiership with only 10 appearances to his name at Stellenbosch FC but he has already done enough to earn the interest of Hugo Broos who has called him up to the squad currently in Europe.
Mcaba has only just turned 20 and is the youngest member of the Bafana squad.
"It means I must continue playing my football and not relax because I’m a youngster. I have to show the coach and not hide behind the fact that I’m a youngster. I have to show a lot more of myself," he says in response to being asked about his age.
He made his debut as a substitute on Friday against Guinea following what he says was a surprise call-up in the infancy of his PSL career.
"I was surprised when I heard the news about the call-up because I wasn’t expecting that I would get a call-up anytime soon but then it brought me and those at home so much joy.
"This also boosted my confidence going forward.
"I think I came in (against Guinea) and did what the other guys did continuing the same way which is why we didn’t concede a goal.
"My performance was not bad even though I was a bit afraid since it was my debut, but I tried to stay focused on the game until the end," Mcaba who is the only player from his club in the squad.
"It means a lot to me, it means I must continue working hard.
"It means a lot to me to be the only one who got the call up from the club.
"That means when I get back to the club, I must not relax but continue working even harder," he notes.
Tuesday’s friendly against France presents him with a chance to rub shoulders with global superstars Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezman, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, and Hugo Loris amongst others.
The thought of earning minutes at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy is on his mind.
"I will have to do my job as a defender and if I have to mark, I will do so just like if I have to tackle, I will also do the same, lead at the back and communicate.
"Big game because we are playing against players that we always watch in the big tournaments. I have to be ready and focused," he adds talking during his first-ever trip to Europe.