THERE are those who see nothing special in Thanduyise Khuboni - they regard his showing in Bafana Bafana colours as anything but stellar.
Notwithstanding the criticism, the Lamontville Golden Arrows midfield anchorman broke into the Bafana ranks with back-to-back man of the match awards.
The first was on his debut - a 3-1 defeat of Zimbabwe in which he created Thulasizwe Mbuyane's goal - and the second in a 1-1 draw with Namibia.
Not that Khuboni is a footballer without gifts. Far from it. Besides, Carlos Alberto Parreira is too wily a coach to carry passengers in his team.
The Brazilian made Khuboni a permanent feature in all the matches Bafana played during their Brazil training camp in March.
Unamazed by his protégé's adjustment to his new surroundings, Parreira heaped praise on the man whose mother shed tears of joy on learning of his Bafana selection.
"He did more than we expected for a new boy. He has what it takes to anchor the midfield the way we want."
Khuboni's contribution does not have to be flashy.
Especially if his duty is, in his own words, "to make the other players get into the game".
"Parreira hates people who hoof the ball forward aimlessly. My job is to link defence with attack and keep the shape of the team with or without the ball, influence the pace of the game and initiate our passing play," Khuboni says.
The 24-year-old from Clermont, outside Durban, is a clever player who sticks to the basics, the simpler the better.
This fits into Parreira's strategy of retaining possession, where positioning is the fundamental principle.