Themba happy to assume senior role in Bafana setup

Midfielder looks forward to friendlies against Mozambique, Angola

- By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Themba Zwane is ready to be the elder statesman in the Bafana Bafana team going forward, after being on the sidelines for some time.

When Bafana coach Hugo Broos began his tenure, he was adamant that there was no space for older players like Zwane.

But after putting on a series of consistent performanc­es for Sundowns, Zwane was recalled to the national team fold in September. He announced his return with a brace in the 4-0 win over Sierra Leone at the FNB Stadium.

After that showing, Broos admitted to having made a mistake by turning his back on Zwane, as he praised him, noting that a player of Zwane’s profile was the missing piece in the team.

Zwane, who is capped 28 times by Bafana, opened up about how he and Broos discussed his initial exile from the team and how that motivated him to keep going.

“The coach explained to me that his preference was the young ones and I told him that from day one I did understand why; play the youngsters, why not,” Zwane said when speaking to the media during his Puma 10th anniversar­y event on Thursday last week.

“But because I was positive, I told him I was waiting for my chance, that’s all. For me, I just want to play football. For as long as God allows me, I will play football,” he said.

Now that Zwane is 33, he is a senior player in the Bafana team and is embracing the new environmen­t. “What I get there is the energy. There are a lot of youngsters; they have energy and are positive, which is a good thing,” said Zwane.

The midfielder is expected to play a prominent role in the two friendly matches against Mozambique on Thursday and Angola on Sunday. Both games will be at the Mbombela Stadium.

“They are tough matches but we are looking forward to playing those games. We know that there are some new players and different faces; we just have to understand each other and win those games,” he said.

 ?? /SYDNEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPI­X ?? Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns.
/SYDNEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPI­X Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns.

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