15 May 2019 – Representing your nation in any major footballing tournament comes with a massive responsibility where the ego has to die in order for the greater good of the national team doing well has to prevail.

This is according South Africa’s National Under-20 (Amajita) defender Malebogo Modise who revealed that he had to learn this key principle soon after breaking into the national under-20 setup back in 2017.

Modise, who is part of the Amajita 21-man squad that is preparing for the upcoming 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament set to take place in Poland, was not part of the Amajita squad that qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup South Korea edition.

He did, however, fight his way back into the team where he eventually earned his place to be counted in the 21-man squad that represented South Africa in the 2017 South Korea World Cup edition were he featured in all three group matches.

It is in this experience of having being dropped in the squad before, where Modise says he learned the valuable lesson of not sulking when things did not go his way.

“That whole experience taught me to never sulk or drop my head when I do not make the squad or team,” Modise says. “That, in fact, is a call to say that I need to up my game and continue working really hard so that I can be ready when the coach gives me the nod. I could have easily missed out on an opportunity to represent my nation on the world stage back in 2017, had I been negative regarding not forming part of the squad that went to Zambia for the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

“I had played in the qualifying rounds of the 2017 AFCON tournament, however, not in the actual event.

Modise adds: “And that is why I always guard against the type of energy I send out to my teammates weather I am starting or not. And that is because at national level, we are entrusted with the responsibility of making our country proud. There can never be a room for bad vibes in the team because one’s ego. Never.”

In the World Cup, Amajita are pitted in Group F alongside Argentina, Korea Republic and Portugal.

A top two finish will guarantee them a place in the knockout stages of the tournament.

Modise also  stated that the team has been working really hard in training and that they will do everything in their power to try and make the country proud.

The 2019 FIFA World Cup tournament will run from 23 May to 15 June.