Bafana Bafana

Mokotjo aims to restore pride

2014-09-02 20:01
Kamohelo Mokotjo (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - Kamohelo Mokotjo believes Bafana Bafana owe it to South Africans to qualify for major tournaments around the world.

Players must step up and take responsibility for the success of the senior national team, Mokotjo said at Bafana Bafana’s penultimate training session in Johannesburg on Tuesday, ahead of their trip to Sudan.

“It’s very important for the national team to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and every other tournament there is,” he said.

“We’re South Africa and we deserve to be on top so we, as the players, have to make sure we get the country there. That’s our responsibility. Coach Shakes Mashaba has done his job and selected good players but it’s our responsibility between now and then."

Mokotjo said he enjoyed challenging himself and loved the responsibility that came with playing for the national team.

"I’m not afraid of making mistakes - it makes you a better player and a better person as well.”

Bafana Bafana depart for Khartoum on Wednesday morning ahead of Friday’s opening 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in the Sudanese capital.

With two caps to his name, the 23-year-old Mokotjo was back in the fold after being in magnificent form abroad.

Mokotjo enjoyed a stellar 2013/14 campaign with PEC Zwolle, in the Netherlands, where he caught the eye of a number of different clubs.

He settled on top Dutch club FC Twente, where Bernard Parker played during his stint overseas.

Making his debut under former Bafana coach Gordon Igesund in 2012, Mokotjo catapulted himself into contention for a regular starting role under the new coach.

“It feels good to be in camp and to be with the boys,” Mokotjo said.

“We’re getting used to the new system and how coach Shakes wants us to work. We’re all happy to be here and we’re looking forward to doing well in the next two games.

“It’s a well-mixed squad, young and old players, a good mixture. There is a lot of quality in the team and so compliments to coach Shakes and his staff. But, at the end of the day, we have to produce the results.”

Mashaba would be targeting a solid start to Bafana's qualification campaign and Mokotjo believed South Africa had no reason not to be present at the continental showpiece in Morocco next year.

After Friday's match in Khartoum, South Africa take on Nigeria in Cape Town the following week.

“Both games are important but the first game is the most important," the midfielder said.

"It’s important to get a good result there, away from home so that we don’t have to worry too much about the result when they come here.

“I think with players like this, we can beat any team in Africa. We have the ability but it’s about mentality and discipline, especially when you play away games.”


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