Bafana Bafana’s hard-tackling midfielder, Lance Davids, will not be star-struck when he lines up against Nigeria in what could be the biggest match of his career in Abuja on Sunday. Kick-off is at 5pm South African time.
The 23-year-old Cape Town-born Davids, who plays for leading Swedish club Djurgardens, is one of the promising stars who local fans are hoping will set the 2010 World Cup finals alight.
Davids showed glimpses of his potential when he played a couple of impressive cameo roles under former Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira at the African Nations Cup finals staged January.
But the prospect of playing against the likes of legendary Super Eagles skipper and top striker Nwankwu Kanu and his Portsmouth teammate, John Utaka, who helped their English Premiership club lift the FA Cup at Wembley earlier this month, adds to the excitement of this clash between fierce African rivals.
Nigerian coach Shaibu Amodu, a former Orlando Pirates coach, has also included Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and the Everton trio of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Anichebe and Joseph Yobo for Sunday’s clash.
Said Davids, who can play on the right hand side of midfield as a winger or as a right back: ”I have never played against Nigeria, but I have heard about previous games. But that does not intimidate me. On the contrary, I want to help Bafana beat Nigeria. I am not fazed by the big-name players Nigeria will field against us.”
Davids was happy with his first training session at the Germiston Stadium under new head coach Joel Santana. Brazilian Santana replaced fellow countryman Carlos Alberto Parreira last week and has been thrown into the deep end with four back-to-back 2010 African Nations Cup qualifiers in June.
Said Davids: ”The new coach looks set to follow the same game plan as Parreira. His methods are the same as the previous coach, so we are continuing from where we left off. I do not think the new coach will make too many changes as the team was starting to gel under Parreira and a win over Nigeria would cement that improvement.”
Davids is still hoping for a move to Blackburn Rovers in the English Premiership where Bafana skipper Aaron Mokoena and striker Benni McCarthy ply their trade.
Davids also had trials with another English Premiership outfit, Newcastle United. Said Davids: ”I am enjoying playing in Sweden but I need a bigger challenge.
”I went on trial earlier this year to Rovers but I am still waiting to see if they want me or not. If they don’t then I will be looking to return to Germany and a Bundesliga side.”
Davids, a former South African under-23 star, joined Djurgardens in 2006 from 1860 Munich.
Said Davids: ”I would like to go back to Munich or another German side as I enjoyed playing there and speak German fluently. I have made up my mind that I will be moving in the off-season. The time is right and my agent is working on offers.” — Sapa