SAFA Media took some time to speak to Motjeka Madisha who comes from the SAFA ranks and has a lot of interesting stories to share.
The South African under-23 Men’s national team are on a high ahead of their Olympic qualifiers scheduled to take place in July 2015. This team, known as the South African Olympic team has a good mix of players who come from the development ranks and those who are regulars at their clubs. SAFA Media took some time to speak to Motjeka Madisha who comes from the SAFA ranks and has a lot of interesting stories to share.
NM: Madisha, thank you for speaking to us. Firstly give us a brief about your footballing career. Secondly if you were not a footballer what would you be doing?
MM: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I have a supportive family where my father played football and he motivated me to play. I started playing at a young age I believe I was still in Letjatji Primary School in Limpopo. I actually wanted to become an athlete because that was my first focus at school but my father’s genius rubbed off on me I guess.
NM: You have played at u20, now u23 and Bafana Bafana level, tell us about these teams and which is your favorite?
Playing for a national team is not easy because everyone expects you to perform at a hundred percent rate every time, but at the same time it is a great opportunity to be one of a few players to represent my country and bring smiles to the nation. I love all the national teams I have played for mostly because the coaching staff has become family to me over the years.
NM: You captained the National u20 team in Senegal at the 2015 AYC and the bulk of the team had been together since u17 level, what happened in Senegal as you guys were named the Dream Team after winning the u20 COSAFA Cup in Lesotho 2013?
Well we failed to qualify for the World Cup in Senegal that was a huge disappointment for us but these things happened in football we have had to move on from that tournament.
NM: Now you are u23 level, how has that been thus far and what changes have you experienced at this level?
Being part of the u23 squad has grown my confidence as a player. It shows that my work rate at u20 has caught the attention of other coaches and this inspires me to become an even better player daily.
NM: Who are some the best players you’ve played with and against thus far?
MM:Ayabulela Magqwaga, Tlotlo Leepile, Avela Cezu and Aubrey Maphosa are defiantly some of my best teammates, there are many more but I can’t name them all there make a team on their own. Those that I believe are the best that Ive played against are also some of my teammates, the likes of Tebogo Moerane, Mobarrak, Haashim Domingos. *laughs* I think the whole u20 squad makes this list.
NM: You will be playing the Olympic qualifiers come July what are your thought about this?
MM: This will obviously be a new obstacle for me as my first ever Olympic qualifiers but I’m up for the challenge, knowing that this won’t be about just me and the team but for the country at large. We would love to bring pride to the nation by qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics and we know that it is up to us to do so.
NM: You also managed to get two senior team caps at the 2015 COSAFA Cup, tell us about that experience?
MM: Firstly I would like to thank Coach Shakes Mashaba for believing me enough to call me up to the senior team. The COSAFA Cup itself wasn’t easy for me because I was with much senior players to me so at first I felt a little intimidated at first but after a few days I remembered my purpose of being part of the team and gelled with the rest of the players.
NM: As the captain of the u20 squad what are some of the roles and responsibilities you have to undertake and is there a difference in coming to the u23 squad and begin a junior player again?
MM:As captain you have a critical role in the team because you have to inspire the team when things are not on your side. At u23 level not too much has changed because as I junior player I have to keep in mind that one day I may also captain this team therefore I have to stay grounded, be supportive to the senior players and still stay true to who I am as a footballer.
NM: At the tender age of 19 years old who have managed to attain so many unbelievable achievements, which one stands out the most for you?
MM: All my achievements are special to me. We won the 2013 u20 COSAFA Cup, qualified for the CAF U20 AYC, I made my u23 and Bafana Bafana debut, so for now “THE SKY IS THE LIMIT”.
NM: What are your thoughts on SAFA’s Vision 2022?
MM: I believe that Vision 2022 is a great vision and I am honoured to be part of it. We as players will do our best to assist the Association in achieving this vision and make South African proud of our game.
NM: A message to all South Africans and football lovers at large?
MM: I would like to urge Mzansi supporters to rally behind us all the time, football is not an easy sport but we all have dreams and ambition to take this country’s football to an international platform.
Thank you for the opportunity you have given us to speak to you and on behalf of SAFA and the nation at large we would like to wish you all the best ahead of tomorrow’s match, we have great hope and faith in this team.