Three goals in four matches at the World Youth Championships in Egypt in September propelled Port Elizabeth-born striker Kermit Erasmus, closer to his dream of playing for his country at the World Cup finals next June.
Erasmus, who plays in the Dutch First Division for SBV Excelsior Rotterdam, has displayed confidence and maturity beyond his 19 years during the last few days training for Bafana Bafana in preparation for Saturday’s friendly international against Japan at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
He would love nothing more than making his debut in his home town. ”That would be a dream come true for me, playing in front of my family, friends and local PE fans.”
The former SuperSport United budding star is one of three South Africa under-20 players that impressed Bafana assistant coaches Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal in Egypt and who were included in the Bafana squad for the Japan clash and the match against Jamaica in Bloemfontein next Tuesday.
The other youngsters hoping to impress are BidVest Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet and midfielder Daylon Claasen, who like Erasmus plays in Holland but is fighting to break into the Ajax Amsterdam first team.
Said Erasmus: ”It is every players dream to play for his country and in the World Cup — it does not get any better than that.
”I was not completely surprised when I was called up to Bafana as I knew that a good showing in Egypt for the SA under-20s would stand me in good stead and I think my three goals did the trick.
”I am here now and determined to make an impression if I get a chance. This is a major stepping stone and foundation for me to begin my senior international career.”
Erasmus said that playing in Holland had helped him develop. ”My technique, speed and working off the ball are better since I move to Holland.”
Erasmus said he was impressed by Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy who turns 32 on Thursday, and will be hoping for a belated birthday present of a goal or two against Japan.
”Benni has helped me on and off the field. He has made time to talk to me and show me some pointers.
”It is brilliant having a player like Benni to look up to. What is impressive is he is a big star, but is so humble and down to earth.
”The senior players have made me so welcome. I am enjoying my time with Bafana and want to stay here for a long time to come.” — Sapa