Sun Sep 24 05:09:14 CAT 2017

Forgotten Menzi Masuku grateful for lifeline offered by Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter

By Marc Strydom | 2017-08-09 09:49:04.0

Menzi Masuku has dropped off the radar so far since featuring for South Africa at last year’s Olympics in Brazil that a Bafana Bafana call-up for Saturday's low-key Chan qualifier against Zambia is seen as a lifeline by the former Orlando Pirates forward.

Masuku‚ following a starring role in Bafana’s Cosafa Cup victory under Shakes Mashaba in Windhoek in June 2016‚ started the 0-0 draw against Brazil and 1-1 draw against Iraq‚ and was a substitute in the 1-0 defeat against Denmark‚ for the SA U-23s at Rio 2016.

On his return Masuku was surprisingly and somewhat unceremoniously released by Pirates to join Chippa United.

A year later the talented but perhaps wayward forward can only look back on a 2016-17 season in Port Elizabeth where he did not score in 18 league games and admit: “I haven’t been doing well.”

Masuku is grateful for a call-up‚ even a late one after the squad was hit by 10 withdrawals‚ to coach Stuart Baxter’s side to meet Zambia in Saturday’s Chan (African Nations Championship) qualifier in East London.

“It’s always a special feeling to wear this jersey. It’s such a great honour to be back within the colours under the new setup‚” Masuku said.

“Hopefully I will grab the opportunity with both hands‚ and look forward for greater things this season.

“It’s just another opportunity because as you know it’s only local players here. It’s a chance for us to show the coach what we are capable of and the whole of SA what we can offer in the Bafana setup.

“I just‚ I think I haven’t really being doing well. I have to admit to that. Since I’m willing to learn.

“I realise that I haven’t been doing well. I think this is an opportunity that I have to grab with both hands.”

Masuku admitted his transfer to Chippa had been tough‚ and lack of form even tougher.

“I was new in a new city. And obviously being at a new club you know that everything is different‚” he said.

“And also‚ most of the time I was getting injured. So hopefully this season I’ll stay clear of injuries‚ and hopefully things will come right.” - SowetanLIVE