7 July 2017 – Bafana Bafana midfielder Nduduzo Sibiya believes they have what it takes to finish on a high in the Plate final of the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup.
South Africa takes on Namibia in the battle for fifth and sixth position, which will be held on Friday, 7 July 2017 at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Kickoff is at 17h00.
Sibiya is one of several Bafana Bafana players who made their debut in the 2-0 win over Botswana (Tuesday, 4 July) to book their place in the Plate final.
But he has had an amazing time recently – shortly after he was called up into the national team, Sibiya was nominated in two categories for the 2016/17 PSL Awards.
He will battle it out with Lamontville Golden Arrows teammate Siyabonga Dube and Teboho Mokoena of Bidvest Wits for the Nedbank Cup Young Player of the Year award.
Sibiya will also be hoping his name is called out when the winner for the Absa Premiership Young Player of the Year Award is announced, where Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Phakamani Mahlambi (Bidvest Wits) are also in contention.
But for now he has put all that aside and is focused on Bafana Bafana whom he wants to help overcome Namibia.
SAFA.net sat down with the 22-year old to get his thoughts on Bafana Bafana and the awards.
Matlhomola Morake: How are you feeling being here?
Nduduzo Sibiya: I am very happy to be here – first of all that I got the call up, and secondly that I started the second game (vs Botswana), played 90 minutes and got a win. It really excites me that at least I have done something for my country as a young player.
MM: What are you thoughts on the Botswana match?
NS:It was actually a good game, and I think we were able to play our own game, even though our fitness levels are not where they are supposed to be, but we were able to match standard of the game and won.
MM:The good thing is that Bafana Bafana bounced back after the Tanzania loss…
NS:That loss really hurt us as players because we were really eager to move to the next round of the competition, but it also helped us in that it pushed us to work harder and make everyone happy by winning the next match.
MM: How important is the COSAFA Cup tournament?
NS: It is vitally important, especially for us youngsters who still want to entrench themselves in the long term in the national team. To be honest some of us didn’t expect this, so being here will give us confidence and advantage to know what the coach wants in the AFCON and World Cup qualifying squad, and when you get there you have the full knowledge of that, so this is more like a training ground for bigger things.
MM: And what do you need to do to get there?
NS:One must continue to show commitment, what I have done so far doesn’t mean I am where I need to be, this is just the beginning so I need to continue to work harder than before so that someday I may be rewarded for my efforts.
MM: What can we expect from the Namibia match?
NS:I want to believe it will be a good game, we will need a lot of focus because Namibia also has good players. We have to concentrate on all fronts so we can go home victorious. It’s not going to be an easy one because both teams want to end the tournament on a high, so a loss is unthinkable.
MM: How exciting will it be to end the tournament on a high after starting with a loss?
NS: It will be awesome, and it will show that we didn’t take Namibia lightly especially after we lost to Tanzania – this is an indication that there are no small teams. But we should also look ahead, the loss we suffered must be left behind because there’s nothing more we can do about it, it’s all in the past and we must focus on what’s coming.
MM: Congrats on your two PSL Awards, how are you feeling?
NS: Just to be nominated is very exciting, more so because it was my first full season in the PSL, and it is a great honour to be selected among the stars that shone this past season, it goes to show that with hard work comes rewards. If I were to walk away with at least one medal from the two nominations, that would be quite an achievement. I would also like to wish my fellow nominees the best of luck. I am really looking forward to the night and hopefully my name will be called up, but for now my focus is on Namibia and the national team, and I hope we come out with a victory as it would be great confidence booster to all the young players in the squad.