It was Bafana Bafana’s trip to France to face the World Champions in March that helped cement ‘Defender of the Season’ Lyle Lakay’s plans for the future.

The wake-up call came when he faced some of the world’s best players at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille and Lakay  knew that he had to make his dreams become a reality.

“When you play against players you’ve been in awe of, you realise just how much more you need to plough into your work. There is so much more that needs to be done, just as I think I’ve done enough.”

Lakay is yet to digest that he walked away with the ‘Defender of the Season 2021-2022’ accolade at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) awards held recently.

“I have not digested anything yet. It has been a whirlwind from the league, travel, awards and now in camp. I will let it all sink in after the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Morocco, I think I’ll take it all in then. For now, a lot is expected and I still need to perform and remain focused,” said a humble Lakay. 

Lakay usually sets himself a goal at the beginning of each season and after reaching it, he motivates himself further towards reaching his own targets rather than personal awards. At 30 years old, the defender believes he is in the prime of his game as opposed to being labelled as ‘old’, as is often the case. He has been playing the game professionally since 2009 and believes he has a lot more to give.

“The Bafana Bafana camp is buzzing with positivity. It helps that the core of team remains the same, and a happy team means good results in my opinion. We play against each other in the league, and so we are not strangers, we are friends, ready to battle for our place and our country.”

Fully motivated and with recent recognition, Lakay has put his hand up to start in the all- important AFCON qualifier against Morocco in Rabat on Thursday 9 June 2022 at 21h00 at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat.