Cape Town - Having made his international debut for South Africa in October last year, Bafana Bafana midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi says he will use the African Nations Championship (Chan) as a platform to cement his place in the national team.
“It’s something I’ve been preparing myself for and it’s a chance for me to grab a place and get settled on the international stage," Vilakazi said on Monday after South Africa beat Mozambique 3-1 in their group A Chan opening match in Cape Town over the weekend.
“It was great. The most important thing was that we got a win. We started our tournament very well.”
Vilakazi made an immediate impression for South Africa in a 1-1 friendly draw with Morocco late last year and his solid form at club side Bidvest Wits has earned him a regular spot in coach Gordon Igesund’s national team camp.
He led the fightback for the hosts against the Mambas on Saturday, when he was brought down in front of goal and the team winning the all-important penalty decision which allowed South Africa to draw level.
Bernard Parker equalised from the spot, before combining well from the middle of the park as Bafana went on to record a comfortable victory.
The 24-year-old Vilakazi said the team were looking to carry the momentum from the group opener into their second fixture against Mali, on Wednesday.
“We watched their game (against Nigeria) and they’re quite a threat. They won as well so it’s going to be tough,” Vilakazi said.
“We’re hoping to get a positive result out of them. If not a win, you have to get something out of the game.
“We’ve got the motivation and now we have to take it from there.”
South Africa will be hoping for more of the same from the venue which brought them their first win of the tournament and Vilakazi believed continued support from a lively Cape Town crowd would stand the team in good stead as the competition progressed.
“The crowd has been good. They came in their numbers which is good for us and we’re thankful for that. Obviously if you keep on winning games and doing well, you’ll get the support you need.”