24 July 2017 – The South African U17 Men’s National Team (Amajimbos); lost 3-2 to Zambia in their second match of the 2017 COSAFA U-17 Championships. Striker Junior Nare was brought on as a late substitute and proved to have been a hidden gem, which needed to be unearthed.

Nare scored the brace for South Africa in the last ten minutes of the games and was on the brink of cutting Chipolopolo’s joy following their 3-0 lead at half time.

SAFA.net took some time out, to speak to the striker about his development and introduction to international football.

Namhla Mphelo: Congratulations on the brace. Give us a brief background on who you are, where you are from and how you started playing football.

Junior Nare: Thank you very much. I am Junior Nare, I am a second born and have three sisters.  I grew up in Johannesburg and I play for Alexandra Black Aces Academy. I started playing soccer with my friends at school and we used bottles as balls *LAUGHS, this how the interest in football came about. In 2011 I join Balfour Alexandra Football Club, and then moved to Corinthians in 2013. Black Aces had interest in me and I was invited for trail, I guess I impressed immensely because look at me know.

NM: You have now earned yourself two international caps and goals in a space of four days, how do you feel about that?

JN: I am humble and I see the results in the hard work my family has invested in me. It’s a nice feeling to know that I played a role in putting a smile on people’s faces. Growing up I would be so hurt when a national team lost and I always told myself that if I ever get the opportunity to dawn the South African jersey I will make a difference.

NM: We live in a country which has not produced a prolific striker in some time, and yet here you are. You managed to score two vital goals in a space of 10 minutes. What do you think it takes to be a prolific striker?

JN: I believe that to be a prolific striker, you need to be very disciplined and very focused on your craft. You need to be able to listen to the coaches but every now and again have the courage to take chances. A striker has to mentally strong and be convincing when shooting. Many a times I see strikers who just shoot towards goal; they do not kick a spot and focus on it.

I believe a striker is a leader front the front, a striker is always the first line of defensive and must also help the rest of the team in defensive areas. Talent is almost an important aspect of being a striker. One need to be able to make the ball and extension of themselves and be comfortable on the ball in any and every situation; which can possible arises, because at times a goal is create from nothing.

NM: Let’s fast forward a little now. What do you aspire to accomplish in life and as a footballer?  

JN: I want to grow up to be a responsible man, I want to ensure that I am able to provide for my family and ensure that I can assist everyone in my space. Football wise I would love to play for Kaizer Chiefs, make a huge mark and hopefully move aboard to the English Premier League. I want to become one of the greatest footballers in South Africa who will ensure that we represent the country with pride at a FIFA World Cup.

NM: The COSAFA U-17 Championships are your first international tournament at national level. What do you think of Mauritius and the regional tournament?

JN: I think that there are some top teams in this tournament with a lot of quality players. They provide good competition and help me grow as a player.  it is a wonderful experience which I will never forget. Mauritius is an amazing place with the perfect scenery to dream of a great future ahead; while preparing for the games ahead.

JN: Junior we thank you for your time and all the best for your next match.