Nomvethe promises to deliver
SIYABONGA "Bhele" Nomvethe is prepared to shoulder the goalscoring responsibility for Bafana on his return to the national team after almost two years, setting his sights on breaking the team's winless streak that has stretched to nine months under Pitso Mosimane.
And vice-captain Siphiwe Tshabalala is already seeing the benefit of having the veteran of two World Cups helping Bafana change their fortunes.
"There's no doubt that he had a great season, not only scoring but helping Swallows fight for the league title and a respectable position. Hopefully he will help score goals (for Bafana) as well and bring his experience because expectations are high for these games," Tshabalala said.
Tshabalala and his teammates beat Burkina Faso 3-0 at Ellis Park in August, but have endured a torrid time on the pitch since then, playing eight matches without a win and failing to qualify for this year's Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
So Nomvethe, 34, has had to step in, said Tshabalala, and carry the mantle as Bafana face two tough 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana next month.
They will also face Gabon a few days after the qualifiers in a friendly at a venue yet to be confirmed. Nomvethe last played for Bafana in June 2010 against France during the group stages of the World Cup, a game the South Africans won 2-1 but still failed to make it to the last 16 on home soil.
Yesterday Nomvethe said Bafana's style of play had not changed much from Carlos Parreira's tenure as coach to the Mosimane era and that he could easily slot in and "deliver".
"It's mostly teamwork . an effort from everyone," said Nomvethe. "But really, if I work hard at it, is easier for me to repeat what I did for Swallows this season," said the striker who scored 20 goals in 30 matches in the Absa Premiership.
"I have not been part of this team for a long time, so I don't really want to put myself under pressure. But I have been delivering (at club level) and I expect to do the same and carry that into the national team."
Nomvethe, a player-of-the-season nominee, said Mosimane had proved that he was Parreira's understudy in his years as assistant coach by keeping the tactics similar to those of the Brazilian.
However, Mosimane has tweaked some aspects of the game, opting for two or even three strikers up front instead of his predecessor's 4-5-1 formation.
This means that against Ethiopia on June 3 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium - and away to Botswana six days later - the coach is likely to use Nomvethe alongside Katlego Mphela with Thulani Serero as a supporting striker.