14 May 2010
Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala is confident that South Africa’s midfielders will raise the tempo – and add to the team’s goal-scoring edge – during the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup™.
Speaking at the team’s hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg on Thursday, the 25-year old star said: “[While] we need to go out as a team and do our best, I strongly believe that as midfielders it is also our duty to score more goals for the team.”
During Bafana’s World Cup warm-up matches against local Brazilian teams recently, Tshabalala was a marvel to watch, scoring three goals for his goal-shy team.
“I know that most Bafana supporters were excited with my performance in Brazil, so in that regard I know that I set myself a standard which I must sustain,” Tshabalala said.
“The team’s supporters should expect to see more of my skills during the World Cup, but only if I can make it to the final line-up,” he added.
Tshabalala, whose performances on the field lately could be rated with those of Brazilian star Robinho, said the team will start scoring more goals on Sunday, when they lock horns with little-known Thailand at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana defender Siboniso Gaxa said his main focus was representing the country during the soccer spectacular, adding that if he got selected to play overseas, it would be great.
“If I manage to impress one of the European teams, it will be great news for me, but all I am thinking about is to offer my reliable solid defending skills to the national team,” Gaxa said.
The no-nonsense Bafana Bafana defender said they were determined to win the match against Thailand on Sunday.
“This is going to be a tough encounter for us … because we are expected to start playing as a team … taking no prisoners at the back as well as scoring more goals.
“The World Cup is just around the corner, and we have to use these friendly matches to show that we have shaped up for the tournament,” he said.
The unluckiest goalkeeper in the German Bundesliga, Rowen Fernandez of Arminia Bielefeld, said that, should he get a chance against Thailand, he would use the opportunity to impress Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.
Parreira has indicated that he will go to the World Cup with three goalkeepers. There are currently four goalkeepers in the camp: Itumeleng Khune, Moneeb Josephs, Shu-Aib Walters, and Fernandez.
Fernandez, who has just come back from an injury, said: “I’ve recovered from my injury and I’ve been declared medically fit by the national team’s doctor. The only thing left is for me to regain my match fitness, and I’m looking forward to being in the final squad.”