Bafana striker confident of team's chances

South Africa’s newest international football player, striker May Mahlangu, believes Bafana Bafana have found their feet as they prepare for friendly matches against Zambia and Ghana this week.

Mahlangu made his debut in Bafana’s goalless draw against Equatorial Guinea—their first match of the year—in Bata on Friday.

“I am really happy with my performance and that of the team,” Mahlangu said on Sunday.

“We played as a unit even though, at times, we looked disjointed because we haven’t been together for a long time.

“But you could see that what we practiced at training was taking shape and that is why I think we managed a draw, which is a fair result in my opinion.

“We were one man down for a while but we never lost our shape so I am satisfied with the overall performance of the team, especially as we know how difficult it is to play away.”

The 22-year-old, who plies his trade for Swedish club Helsingborg, was recently voted Swedish Player of the Year.

And while he was a little intimidated after making the step up to international level, he said he was satisfied with his effort against Equatorial Guinea, the hosts of this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

“I have learnt a lot from my first match, and I hope this is just the start of good things to come, but I have to continue working hard and improve at all times,” he said.

Mahlangu said he would give his debut jersey to his grandmother.

“I am going to have it framed and give it to my grandmother who has been taking care of me since I lost my parents,” he said.

“I did not spend enough time with her over the festive period, so I just want to thank [her] today with this jersey.”

Mahlangu is part of the squad that will face Zambia in a practice match in Atteridgeville on Wednesday, but he returns to Sweden for club duty the following day and will not be available for the game against Ghana in Phokeng on Sunday.—Sapa


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