Schalkwyk keen to defy naysayers

GERT Schalkwyk's inclusion in the Bafana Bafana training squad last week raised eyebrows because of his lack of game-time at Orlando Pirates, but he made his critics eat humble pie with a brace against Swaziland.

GERT Schalkwyk's inclusion in the Bafana Bafana training squad last week raised eyebrows because of his lack of game-time at Orlando Pirates, but he made his critics eat humble pie with a brace against Swaziland.

And he is keen to maintain his inspired form at Bafana, hoping to convince coach Carlos Alberto Parreira to rope him into the squad for further training camps in Brazil and Germany in March and April. This could enhance Schalkwyk's chances of making it into Bafana's World Cup squad.

"I know what people said about me when I was considered for this camp, but I did not allow the criticism to dampen my spirit," said Schalkwyk from their camp in Durban yesterday.

"It is a great feeling for me to be part of the Bafana Bafana squad that's preparing for such a huge tournament. This motivates me to work even harder to improve my game.

"I will always do the same at Pirates. I know that my time will come for me to play regularly at Pirates. Though I have hopes of being part of the Bafana Bafana squad for the World Cup, I will still rally behind the national team beyond the tournament if I'm not selected."

The former Bidvest Wits, Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder is among the players who could prove inspirational for Bafana against against Zimbabwe, who they engage in a friendly at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban tomorrow. Kickoff is at 8.30pm.

"If I score it will be a bonus, but we are going into this match with a winning mentality," he said.

X