Klate eyes up more club suc­cess

He is not wor­ried about get­ting a call to play for the na­tional team any­more

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE

THE IRONY is not lost on Daine Klate that de­spite be­ing the lo­cal game’s most dec­o­rated player he has never rep­re­sented the coun­try at a ma­jor tour­na­ment.

As it is, Klate has only been capped 13 times by Bafana Bafana. Con­trast that to the six cham­pi­onship ti­tles and a myr­iad of knock­out com­pe­ti­tions tri­umphs that sees his tro­phy tally stand­ing at an in­cred­i­ble 14 medals and you should have a player won­der­ing why he has not played more for his coun­try.

Klate though, re­mains un­fazed by it all.

“I’m tired of that ques­tion man,” was Klate’s terse re­sponse to how he feels about his be­ing shunned for na­tional duty.

“For me it is all about play­ing as long as I can and try to add more ti­tles. For me there’s no vi­sion 2022.

“I’ve made peace with the fact that it is what it is. I can’t fo­cus on things that are be­yond my con­trol.”

What is within his con­trol is to give his all for his club, who­ever they may be and at the mo­ment the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of his tal­ent and in­cred­i­ble knack for suc­cess are Bid­vest Wits.

The Clever Boys won their maiden cham­pi­onship thanks in part to the ex­pe­ri­ence of the man from Port Eliz­a­beth. It was him who en­sured Wits started the sea­son on a high by lift­ing the MTN8 ti­tle, for which Klate was re­warded with the Last Man Stand­ing award at the PSL end of sea­son cer­e­mony on Mon­day.

For Klate, the plea­sure of the game has al­ways been in his help­ing his teams to suc­cess.

“It is al­ways a good feel­ing to win tro­phies and ac­co­lades. Win­ning tro­phies shows that I’m a team player. It was great to con­trib­ute in the team and it is al­ways nice to get recog­ni­tion.”

The log­i­cal step from that recog­ni­tion is reg­u­lar call-ups to the na­tional team. But that has eluded Klate.

He missed out on the 2008 Ghana Africa Cup of Na­tions, the 2009 Fifa Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup and the 2010 World Cup that we hosted plus the 2013 and 2015 Af­con tour­na­ments here and in Equa­to­rial Guinea.

Even when Bafana were coached by Shakes Mashaba, who handed out caps like they were free call backs, Klate still didn’t crack the nod.

Cur­rent Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter ap­pears to be­lieve in hav­ing a good mix of ex­pe­ri­ence and youth in his side. Does Klate fore­see an op­por­tu­nity of a call-up?

“There’s good enough play­ers out there. There’s (Kea­gan) Dolly and oth­ers now. I had my times but it wasn’t to be for me as I wasn’t the reg­u­lar. I want to fo­cus on my club ca­reer now and con­trib­ute to my team, that’s all,” Klate said.

Not that he will spurn a chance of don­ning the na­tional team jersey again though.

“I’m not say­ing I’m done with Bafana. If an op­por­tu­nity comes I will still be avail­able but I’m not go­ing to have sleep­less nights about it.”

Whether it does or not, there can be no deny­ing Klate’s stand­ing as the lo­cal game’s most dec­o­rated player. Some have even gone as far as re­fer­ring to him as “a cham­pi­onship mag­net”, some­thing he dis­putes.

“I don’t have magic. It is all about be­ing a team player and work­ing hard. Play­ing with qual­ity play­ers al­ways makes it easy. I had qual­ity play­ers at Su­perS­port United and I also played with good play­ers at Or­lando Pi­rates and it is the same here at Wits.

“I’m a team player and I al­ways want to con­trib­ute pos­i­tively in the team’s suc­cess.” TI­TLE-WIN­NING MA­CHINE: Daine Klate is the most dec­o­rated player in the lo­cal game, but never re­ally got his chance to shine for Bafana Bafana, some­thing he no longer thinks about while play­ing for Wits.

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