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Benedict Vilakazi is happy at his club in Denmark

By unknown | Nov 26, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi is a rare breed on the pitch and very witty off it.

Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi is a rare breed on the pitch and very witty off it.

His wizardry, both at club level and in the Bafana Bafana squad, is well documented.

Vilakazi has defied the odds in life and worked hard to be counted among the revered players in the country, never mind his absence from Carlos Alberto Parreira's on-off side.

Unlike other players, Vilakazi does not complain if he does not get enough play time and his recent omission in the Bafana Bafana make-up has also not dampened his spirit.

He last played for Bafana on September 12 when they engaged Uruguay in an international friendly at Ellis Park.

He came on in the 70th minute and changed the face of the match that ended in a scoreless stalemate.

His God-given talent has not gone unnoticed by foreign teams after he was captured by top Danish Superliga club Aalborg BK in July.

Though the pint-sized linkman has been warming the bench at Aalborg, he has not stopped working hard at training.

In this interview he tells Sowetan'sMcelwa Nchabeleng about, among other things, life in Denmark, his omission from the Bafana Bafana side and about his former club Orlando Pirates.

Mcelwa Nchabeleng (MN): You are a township boy but now you live in a city in a foreign country. How do you cope in Denmark?

Benedict Vilakazi (BV): Life is fine here and I really enjoy myself.

MN: But surely you cannot be satisfied with everything in that country?

BV: You are right. I have a problem because there is no pap here. You see I like my pap and that is why I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm not eating it here. But generally what people eat here is what we also cook back in South Africa.

MN: So who cooks for you because you are staying alone?

BV: To say I'm the best cooker would be an understatement.

MN: You are a typical Zulu boy and maybe your teammates at Aalborg and your new-found friends in Denmark now speak a little bit of the language, especially because Siyabonga Nomvethe is also in town?

BV: We communicate in English and the technical staff and teammates know the language.

MN: Sometimes you find yourself idling after training and need to chill out with friends and get a beer or two. Where do you chill out in Denmark?

BV: To be honest with you, we seldom go out. Club managers are very strict here and they want to work with disciplined players. We were allowed to go out to chill once and that was after we won our Uefa match.

MN: I can imagine Tso enjoying a Danish beer all that night. How did it taste?

BV: I have not tasted any beer here because I only buy energy drinks. I only see their beer when I buy my drinks at the garages. There are beers in every garage and I can imagine if this set-up was the same in South Africa my friends would be happy because garages operate 24 hours every day and they can buy their beers at any given time.

MN: I also like my energy drinks but also enjoy my drinks. You should be the lucky one because you don't take both?

BV: We are working with disciplinarians here and you cannot think of drinking alcohol even in your spare time. They need clean-living and true professional players.

MN: It is the first time that you play abroad and you should be home-sick by now?

BV: Yes, I sometimes think about home and my friends, but I always tell myself that 'Tso you are here to play football and you should concentrate on what brought you to Denmark. It's work'.

MN: You are staying a stone's throw away from Nomvethe, who is also your teammate. How often do you visit each other?

BV: Almost every day. We speak about life in South Africa and our playing experiences with our former teams back home. Nomvethe stays with his family and it is a nice feeling when they visit me.

MN: Do you watch South African football on television?

BV: The DStv we have here does not show South African football. I update myself about matches at home through the Internet. I always visit the Sowetan website for updates. I'm aware that Pirates have been booted out of the Telkom Knockout. I think it is just a matter of time before Pirates stamp their authority in the league.

They have a very good coach in Owen da Gama. Players like Teko Modise, Bennett Chenene, Excellent Walaza and Tlou Segolela, to mention just a few, are in a class of their own.

My advice to them is that they should not relax on their laurels but should continue to work hard to ensure the success of the team.

MN: You have made two appearances for Aalborg in cup matches but you are still to play a league match. You should be frustrated about this?

BV: Not at all. I see this as a challenge for me to continue working hard to play regularly. I also feel the same about my situation in Bafana Bafana. The time will come for me to return to the national squad and I'm positive about this.

MN: Aalborg are tied with FC Copenhagen on 30 points on top of the log after 16 matches. Do you think your team is capable of wearing the crown this season?

BV: We are ready, willing and able to wear the crown.

MN: Can you take us through your contract at Aalborg?

BV: I have signed a five-year contract in July this year and I was over the moon when we clinched the deal. It has been my wish to play abroad. I'm convinced that playing in Denmark will open doors for me to play in England or Spain.

MN: What is your message to your fans back home?

BV: Please keep on praying for me to succeed in Denmark. Don't despair because I'm working hard to be a regular at Aalborg and also to reclaim my position in the national squad.

This is what Nomvethe had to say about Vilakazi:

"Tso is a true professional and his situation here has not demoralised him. Aalborg know what he is capable of and that is why they brought him here. I'm happy he is here and we spend enough time together. I'm teaching him how to drive in Denmark because people here drive on the right and pass on the left. Tso sometimes forgets this and ends up facing the on-coming cars [laughing]."


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