tso not done

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South African soccer star Benedict Vilakazi does not rule out the possibility of rejoining Orlando Pirates to regain his Bafana Bafana place for the 2010 World Cup.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sowetan, Vilakazi said it was heart-breaking for him to warm the bench at Aalborg BK in Denmark.

The Little Napoleon signed a five-year deal with the Danish log leaders - where compatriot Siyabonga Nomvete is his teammate - last year.

Also known as "Botsotso" in local soccer circles, Vilakazi has not seen any action at Aalborg since been relegated to the reserve side to stay in shape.

"The team has been doing incredibly well after going through a bad patch before my arrival here in Denmark," said Vilakazi.

"I know the team has been doing well since I joined them but as a player, the feeling is not a good one to watch from the stands.

"I discussed [the lack of first-team action] with the technical staff but the coach explained it was difficult to dismantle a winning combination.

"In my discussions with the coach, I made him aware that I also want to get a chance to play. We top the log with 10 games to go, enjoying a comfortable six-point lead.

"We all know that I did not come to Denmark to be a tourist, I came here to play soccer which is what the club is paying for.

"The World Cup is coming to my country in two years' time, that is why I really feel that I need to start getting some serious action in top-flight soccer."

When it was put to Vilakazi that Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira urged him to look for a club where he will play regularly, he said: "That's great to hear.

"It really motivates me that the coach is still thinking about me. I really want to play at Aalborg so that I can be part of the Bafana Bafana set-up again.

"I understand that it is difficult for him to select players who are not regulars at their clubs, but that's a big challenge for South African soccer lately.

"There are a number of top Bafana Bafana players in various countries in the world, but the problem is that we are not playing regularly.

"Look at Egypt, they have managed to keep most of their good players at home and pay them well, which is why they are doing so well at national and club level.

"It's also happening with other North African countries like Tunisia and Morocco; they try by all means to match overseas offers so that local players remain at home.

"I have been thinking about my future. I have decided to wait until the end of the season with the hope that I will get a chance to play in the 10 remaining games.

"But if nothing happens, I will sit down with Aalborg to ask them to release me so that I can go to a club where I will play regularly in the new season.

"At 26, I'm not getting any younger. It has been a great experience coming here, especially knowing that I went through some bad things back home.

"Coming here has helped me to start a new life. I also want to thank God for giving me the strength and courage.

"My only disappointment here is that I can't play in the senior team," said Vilakazi. "I have been playing regularly in the Reserve League. I have featured in nine games and scored eight goals, which is great for me."

On the possibility of seeing him in the popular black and white colours of Pirates again, he said: "I'm what I am today because of Pirates.

"Pirates will always get first preference when I come back home. I miss the guys at Pirates, friends, supporters and my children.

"I spend Wednesdays and weekends listening to the PSL games on Ukhozi FM through their website. I also read the websites of various newspapers and magazines."

Vilakazi lives about 3km away from Nomvete.

"I spend a lot of time with Bhele [Nomvete]. He has just left my house now. Bhele has also been supportive, which I appreciate."

Vilakazi said it was fascinating to see Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United and Santos also challenging for the Absa Premiership title.

"That is good for our football. I think the big money coming into South African football lately is contributing to the success of other clubs."

His heart problem, which saw him failing to join Aalborg at pre-season training, is " fine now".

Whichever way you look at it, the likeable Vilakazi is one of those players who still have a lot to offer Bafana Bafana.