Nomvethe targets 2014 SWC
Siyabonga Nomvethe (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Veteran Bafana Bafana striker Siyabonga Nomvethe has set his sights on ending his illustrious career in a third Soccer World Cup appearance at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
"My feet are still carrying me, so as long as nothing is broken, I can still play," said Nomvethe, who scored the winner in Bafana's first World Cup win over Slovenia at the 2002 showpiece in South Korea and Japan.
"I want to work for my country, and hopefully be part of the team in 2014."
The nippy 34-year-old has forced his return to the national fold, after a two-year hiatus, ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana.
He earned the last of his 79 international caps under Carlos Parreira at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago, and he remains Bafana's fourth-highest scorer with 16 goals.
He is likely to partner Katlego Mphela upfront in their crucial opening Group A qualifier against Ethiopia in Rustenburg on Sunday.
Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane said earlier this year that the one improvement he wanted to see in the team heading to the qualifiers, and next year's Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, was more goals.
Bafana have been poor in this department, striking only three times in their last six matches, while there has also been a dearth of quality marksmen.
At an age when he is expected to be past his prime, Nomvethe earned four accolades at the Premier Soccer League Awards at the weekend.
"There are no secrets [for the success] except for hard work, and then you get your rewards," Nomvethe said.
"Another thing that is important is respect in life.
"I won't go out there to prove anything [with Bafana], but to play my game.
"Pitso has treated me like any other player at camp.
"I want to work hard so the youngsters can see that age does not mean anything."
Bafana captain Steven Pienaar lauded Nomvethe, and said his return should ease the pressure on the skipper and other senior players.
"Bhele [Nomvethe] has been as sharp as ever at training," Pienaar said.
"He's been around for many years and knows what is expected at Bafana."