Bafana Bafana captain Thulani ‘Tyson’ Hlatshwayo said he was relishing the prospect of having a long haul as the Senior Men’s National Team captain saying he wants to lead from the front.
Talking to the media on Tuesday morning, the Bidvest Wits sturdy defender said what makes him relish this particular responsibility was the fact that he had received unequivocal support from all of his teammates.
“If you are a leader and you get the support of your troops, half your battle is won,’ he said with a smile. “But on a more serious note, it is nice to wear a captain’s armband; although I have done this before, I think this time we are entering a new era.”
Remaining as humble as has become his trademark, Hlatshwayo said he was not expecting this new promotion but would savour the challenge.
“It more like a baptism of fire to get this ahead of the Nigeria game but we have played Nigeria before and we came close to beating them twice in our last two meetings and I think they are there for the taking this time around.
“It’s somehow a familiar environment because I was then involved in those last two encounters and we should come back with a positive result. But Nigeria is a strong side, we need to respect them and show real character,’ he added.
“Nigeria are a proud and arrogant team but I still believe we have now overcome that psychological barrier of not having beaten them in a competitive match; yet we could have done so in the past two games,” reflected Hlatshwayo.
He said because Nigerians were big, South Africa should hurt them on swift counter attacks.
“It’s going to be a grudge game this one. We denied them a place to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and they will be out for revenge and that might work exactly to our advantage.”
The Bafana Bafana captain said the team had responded massively to new coach Stuart Baxter adding the one week training period was enough for national team players.
Meanwhile, the whole team trained on Tuesday ahead of leaving for Nigeria on Wednesday and were oozing with confidence.