South Africa’s u19 lost 2-1 to PSV Eindhoven in the semi-final of the Durban U19 International Tournament. They will now play in the 3rd/4th place final on Saturday 8 August 2015 against VfB Stuttgart at Moses Mabhida Stadium at 15:00.
SAFA Media took some out to speak to Keletso Makgalwa a forward of the South Africans who had the supporters on the edge of their seats throughout the Tournament.
NM: Keletso, thank you for your time and let’s get straight into it. Give me a brief history about yourself and where your football started?
KM: Thank you Ousi Namhla for the opportunity. I would like to be as honest as possible with the answers I give you today. I am a Pedi boy from Mokopane, Limpopo, I am a fourth born of six children if there is such a word. I started playing football at the age of 9 like many other children in my community and I would always tag along with my brothers when they went to play for their clubs.
I was very skilled and had explosive speed do that inspired me to make something of football. I joined Yster United at a young age and was selected to play for the Limpopo SAB U21 national championships last year. Mamelodi Sundowns saw me in that tournament and I joined their academy at the beginning of this year, a few months later here I am in the national u19 squad. What can I say my sister God is great.
NM: God is great indeed. Now this is your first time in the national team set up, how has the experience been, you have now played against international clubs how was that?
KM: Being in the national team set up is an honour and a wonderful feeling for me, every footballer dreams of this and I am grateful for the opportunity bestowed on me. The atmosphere here is amazing and the idea that so many of us are here for the first time is overwhelming, the setup is also very professional and the coaches are just warm people. Playing against the likes of Galatasaray and the other international clubs is firstly an upgrade for me, these are clubs I never thought I would ever compete against.
NM: Having been upgraded by these international competitors you have where do you think we as South African football are in terms of world football?
KM: I truly believe that we are not too far off from the rest of the world especially on the field of play. We are improving as a football nation with every match we play, I mean we matched these teams tactically and technically, yes our finishing during the group stages was not 100% but that is something that can be worked on. With regards to professionalism at junior level there are some aspects that still need to work on but we are not too far behind.
NM: Keletso throughout the tournament you where that one player who had the most scoring opportunities. Your speed and ability to eliminate defenders must have also impressed you. Take us through one of those moments and where you think you can still improve as a player?
KM: *laughs* Coach Thabo told me about my abilities a few times and yes it is true I remember in the match against Stuttgart I remember a chance that I had, I receive the ball from around the half way line and managed to beat off three defenders and when I looked up I had just the keeper to beat, I was in a position that I was not used to and the technique that I used was just the incorrect one, I shot that all way too high and even when I watch it again I feel like I could have done better. I think I didn’t have enough confidence in myself but I will work on it with more game time.
Scoring has been an issue for us in the tournament, confidence and composure have been the main causes of this, we know that people want to see exciting football and goals and we have given the first fifty percent of exciting football. We want to or I personally want to promise football supporters that I will work on my confidence and composure because I want to score as many goals as possible.
NM: Interesting indeed. Now back to our local football. These past two days we saw the start of the new season and clubs getting knocked out of the MTN 8 because of not converting their chances, how do you think our players can improve this situation that we are facing as a country?
KM: Like I said confidence and composure are qualities you need to convert those final passes, us younger player are looking into this for the future of our football and I believe players need to put in extra work to work of their individuality like the greats in Europe do.
NM: What are you looking forward to this coming season?
KM: I would like for my team to win the Kay Motsepe Cup. I would also like to play regularly, form part of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge squad for club, to get called up to Amajita and score goals.
NM: Keletso thank you for your time and I wish you all the best for the future.