Bafana Bafana

Coetzee's Bafana future in midfield?

2015-11-16 13:38
Rivaldo Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - He is just 19-years-old, but Rivaldo Coetzee has already become a familiar figure at the heart of the Bafana Bafana defence. 

Playing his football out of Ajax Cape Town, Coetzee has notched up 14 caps since making his debut in an AFCON 2015 qualifier in Congo last year. 

Coach Shakes Mashaba has largely backed Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Eric Mathoho as his three centre backs of choice since then.

In Friday's 3-1 win over Angola in a World Cup qualifier, Coetzee was given the nod alongside Mathoho - another sign of how much faith Mashaba has in the youngster. 

And, according to Mashaba, Coetzee could go on to represent Bafana further up the field.

"With Rivaldo, wait some time, we’re going to play him behind the strikers," the coach said in Durban, the venue for Tuesday night's second leg against Angola.

"We think that’s where he belongs because he’s got composure, he can hit the ball and he’s got skills to play. But for now we said let’s not push him too fast, let’s leave him at the back." 

Coetzee was less convinced. 

"Maybe as a holding midfielder, but I don’t know about further up front," he laughed.

"I’m happy with the way things are going now. Every day I’m trying to learn and not just from players in my position, but from midfield as well.

"The coach can play you anywhere and then you have to step up and do the job."

Mashaba was asked once more about his defensive duo and whether or not he would consider picking Hlutshwayo for Tuesday night's clash. 

"We’ve got one or two players … even three contesting for one position," he said.

"Anyone that you throw in there gives of their best. If you look at Tyson (Hlutshwayo) and Rivaldo, they are more or less the same thing. The two of them, they are utility players."

Bafana take on Angola at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night. Kick-off is at 19:00.

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