'It feels good to be back'

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Veteran utility player Benson Mhlongo has attributed his return to Bafana Bafana after almost 13 months to patience and hard work.

Mhlongo is one of the six Orlando Pirates players included in the provisional team for the Confederations Cup from June 14 to 28.

The final squad of 24 players will be announced by coach Joel Santana on June 4, two days before Bafana Bafana take on Poland at Orlando Stadium in an international friendly.

Other Bucs players are Moeneeb Josephs, Thulasizwe Mbuyane, Innocent Mdledle, Teko Modise and Katlego Mashego.

"I never lost hope after the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana last year. I told myself that the only way to get my place back was to work hard," said Mhlongo.

"It is great to be back with Bafana Bafana. It's always an honour for every sportsman to represent his country. It's the best thing to be part of the team because the tournament is the dress rehearsal for the 2010 World Cup.

"We have a great team which I have no doubt will make us proud. We just have to work hard as a team. I also think we have to work on how to deal with set pieces.

"The team has been conceding goals from set pieces. I believe we will work on how to defend them."

Like all the other players and officials, Mhlongo said the home support would be a huge motivational factor for Bafana Bafana.

Defensive midfielder Masilo Modubi, who plies his trade in Belgium, was the first overseas-based player to arrive in the country yesterday.