Bafana Bafana striker Kermit Erasmus says he is happy to be back in the national team fold, and that is all that matters.
The France-based player last donned his country’s jersey in the 2-all draw clash against Nigeria on 19 November 2014 in Uyo – he was replaced after 39 minutes.
Erasmus is in Durban with the South African Senior Men’s National Team to face Guinea-Bissau in an internationa friendly match pencilled in for Saturday, 25 March 2017 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
This will be followed by another friendly meeting with Angola on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 at Buffalo City Stadium in East London.
The matches kick off at 15h00 and 19h00 respectively.
“It’s a great opportunity, I am happy to be back in South Africa, it feels awesome because I haven’t been here in about a year, so I am really happy be to back in the national team setup, and looking forward to the two upcoming matches. Hopefully we can play some good and entertaining football and win those two games,” said Erasmus.
“Everybody knows the reason I was not here before but I don’t want to talk about the past but focused on the games. I have always wanted to represent my country and I am here now to do just that. I want to focus on the present and structure the future to make sure it looks bright. I knew this question would come, but these things happen – it is part of football and we just have to deal with them and move on.”
Erasmus adds that although he is now getting regular game time in France, he is under no pressure to score goals for Bafana Bafana.
“As a footballer there is always pressure to produce what the fans want and what the team needs, so I don’t see it as pressure but a challenge. The good thing is that we have a lot of players that can contribute to scoring goals. Besides me there are other strikers, so we have take it upon ourselves as a collective to do well and hopefully we can produce what is needed, added Erasmus.
He says being called up for friendly matches is not an issue, but playing for your country is key.
“There is an opportunity in every situation, and it’s what you make of it that matters. I am just trying to make the most of it, to give my best. Afterall, it’s every footballers dream to represent their country at the bigger stage. These two matches are preparations for us, and sort of a trial as individuals to prove to the coach that we are sticking our hands up to represent the country when major tournaments arrive. Everybody has a chance to prove themselves, it is up to all the individuals to grab the chance,” said Erasmus.
The former Orlando Pirates and Superport United player moved to France early in 2016 to join Stade Rennes in Ligue 1, but did not enjoy enough game time. He was then loaned to Ligue 1 side Lens where he is now a regular.
“Making a laon move to Lens has helped me a lot because now I am playing a lot, and I have helped the team get to the number one position on the league table. So I am happy, the club is happy with my contribution and my progress, my coach is happy and so is my family – so this is a good period for me, not only about my career but also in my life in general.” says the striker.
“I never thought of coming back when I was not playing. My biggest mistakes when I was in Europe for the first time was to come back home – and I am not saying anything bad about the South African league – but I am talking about my career as an individual. I think I was misguided at the time. Being back in Europe this time and not playing was very frustrating but I have my family that supported me and things turned around for the better because I stayed positive, kept on working hard and I knew that my chance would come – whether playing for my team or going on loan. So I am happy that I made the right decision to go on loan. Now I am playing regularly, and I am back in the national team.” concluded Erasmus.
KERMIT ERASMUS FACT FILE
Born: 8 July, 1990
Club: Lens (France)
National team debut: v Niger, 2012 Nations Cup qualifier, 04 September 2010
Last game played: v Nigeria, African Nations Cup qualifier, 19 November, 2014
First goal scored: v Botswana, World Cup Group A qualifier, 7 September, 2013
Caps per club: SuperSport United 4, Orlando Pirates 7
Began career with SuperSport United juniors … made his PSL debut at the age of 17 against Free State Stars in December 2007 … scored his first goal against Ajax Cape Town in March 2008 … moved to Feyenoord in the Netherlands in June 2008 … made his debut in the UEFA Cup against French side Nancy and made six substitute appearances in the his first season … loaned out to Dutch second Division side Excelsior Rotterdam for the 2009/10 season … returned to SuperSport United in July 2010 … joined Orlando Pirates in 2013 and then French side Stade Rennes in January 2016 … is currently on loan at Ligue 2 Lens … was top scorer with three goals for South Africa in their four matches at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt … received first call-up for friendly internationals against Japan and Jamaica in November 2009 … born in Port Elizabeth.