Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns midfield star Matthew Pattison, is determined to make the most of any chance he gets to play for Bafana Bafana in next Wednesday’s Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Cape Town Stadium. Kick-off is at 21:30.
Pattison has for long been the unsung hero of the Brazilians' midfield and was excited at getting called up on Wednesday by Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane, for this prestige friendly international against the side ranked 25th in the world.
Pattison, 24, said he would use the game as a stepping stone for his career if he should earn his first Bafana cap.
“This is a step in the right direction for me and I am thrilled about playing for my country," he said on Thursday.
"If I get game time I will make it count.”
Pattison celebrated in style on Wednesday night when he scored his first goal for Downs to help the PSL leaders defeat Free State Stars 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.
“Our club coach (Antonio Lopez Habas) has been encouraging me to go forward and score. I have come close this season but tonight it all fell into place," he said after the match.
"The Bafana call up was a boost for me and now this goal has really pumped up my confidence level.”
Pattison will not be overawed if he gets to play against the well respected Americans. “I have gained invaluable experience playing in the English Premiership for Newcastle United and played over 65 games in the (English) Championship for Norwich City before joining Sundowns at the start of last season.
“This (US game) is the perfect platform for me and other fringe players. Being a friendly, there won’t be that much pressure and hopefully it will be easier to express ourselves.”
Pattison said he harboured ambitions of featuring for Bafana in the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. “I am delighted to have been given this chance against the US, but I do not want to be a one game wonder.
"I intend impressing and hopefully getting more matches in the African Nations Cup qualifiers against Egypt, Sierra Leone and Niger next year.
"My goal is Brazil and the African Nations Cup, but I know the ball is in my court and it is up to me to grab this chance with both hands. I am up for it, determined to prove myself at this level and if given the chance, I will not let my country or the coach down.”