Recovered Ndlovu gets his chance against Poland
DINO Ndlovu appears set for a second start for Bafana Bafana in tomorrow night's friendly against Poland, which would go a long way to making up for the novice striker's bitter disappointment about going off injured in what should have been a dream debut against Brazil last month.
Ndlovu had his arm dislocated after being clattered to the ground by a thunderous challenge from Dede, and tried to continue before being substituted in the 32nd minute by Benni McCarthy in SA's 1-0 defeat in Sao Paulo.
In training yesterday, the 22-year-old Maccabi Haifa striker was the central striker for Gordon Igesund's shadow starting XI, and the Bafana coach appears to have the burly youngster earmarked as a centre-forward who can hold the ball up in his 4-3-3 formation.
"Before the training the coach said he's going to try some different combinations, just for the players to know each other a bit more because he changed nine players from the previous squad," Ndlovu said.
"It was a good feeling to be in the team that was close to the starting XI, though it doesn't mean I'll start on Friday. But it does give me that extra motivation to do that bit extra and try and make it."
Ndlovu admitted he was devastated to have to go off against the Selecao.
"First of all, for me it was an honour to be in the national team for the first time in my life," he said. "But of course it was disappointing to go off because I was getting into the momentum of the game. But I know everything happens for a reason in life. I took it that probably that chance will come again. I did rehab for nine days, and now I have a chance again."
Igesund's plans for the forward should see Ndlovu play with his back to goal a lot, knocking the ball off to the players around him. "I have to make sure that if we're pressing I marshal the players behind me," the under-23 international said.
Ndlovu's dramatic rise to the national team has been a surprise because the Platinum Stars academy product played only a handful of games for Bloemfontein Celtic on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns before a move to Bnei Yehuda.
Last season, though, he scored 11 goals in all competitions for the Israeli club, earning a transfer to a big side, Maccabi Haifa, for whom Ndlovu has already struck six times this season.
"Coming from a small club in Israel to a big club will always have challenges in terms of the standard that's expected and how you play," Ndlovu said. "I'm adjusting at Maccabi, and on the right track in my career, so I can't complain about anything right now."
He said a change of location worked wonders in his career.
"In South Africa I worked hard but I was overlooked. But I don't blame anyone because it does happen in some instances in a player's career.
"It can work from someone coming from, say Zimbabwe, going to SA and playing good football. For me I went to Israel and have played my best, and look where I am now."