Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena is pleased to be back in the national team’s fold. He believes his latest call-up is long overdue and that he has a lot to offer the team.
With 107 caps, Mokoena is the most capped player.
Despite having completed a Uefa D coaching licence, Mokoena says he has decided to go into management after realising that not everyone is cut out to be a coach.
The 36-year-old former defender was roped in for the Bafana Bafana 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde to learn from veteran administrator Barney Kujane, who is the team manager.
“There are different roles that former players can play, and I have decided to take this path of being the link between the technical team and the association. Remember when I was the captain, I was the link between the players and the technical team, and now this is a step forward for me,” said Mokoena.
He believes he could not be under the wing of a more knowledgeable person than Kujane.
“Bra Barney has been around and knows what he is doing. But he was frank with me, saying this is like an introductory course for me as there is a lot to do in this field. I think I will learn a lot from his experience and knowledge because he has been around the block.”
Mokoena has applauded the South African Football Association (Safa) for thinking of the legends and giving them opportunities in national teams.
In this camp, he was joined by former goalkeeper André Arendse, who replaced Alex Heredia as a goalkeeper coach. Another Bafana legend, Quinton Fortune, has also been roped in as an assistant to Stuart Baxter.
Former Bafana winger Helman Mkhalele is in England with the national Under-20 team, and Mokoena says this augers well for former players.
“It is good that some of us are being recognised and getting involved because we have a bigger role to play in South African football. We have to impart the knowledge we have acquired to these youngsters who look up to us and, by so doing, hopefully the standard of our football will grow.”
But he stressed the importance of former players empowering themselves to broaden their horizons.
“The onus is on us to show that we want it more by doing courses to uplift our standard. We cannot just expect everything to be done for us just because we are former players; we need to go out there and prove ourselves. I believe this is the first step towards that and we must thank the Safa leadership for showing confidence in us.”