SCHALKWYK LOOKS TO CUP TO BURY BAFANA DISAPPOINTMENT
ORLANDO Pirates midfielder Gert Schalkwyk has taken his Bafana Bafana disappointment on the chin and is now intent on winning the Nedbank Cup.
Schalkwyk did well to hide the disappointment at his exclusion from the national team set-up, his face expressionless as Pirates were taken through their paces during a training session yesterday.
Schalkwyk has little time to wallow in self-pity, with the Buccaneers now preparing for the powder-keg quarterfinal match with Premier Soccer League rivals Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday.
"Yes, I'm disappointed at being dropped from the national team," admitted Schalkwyk.
"But I've got to move on to the next challenge. I'm fresh and raring to go. I just want to play and score goals for Pirates."
Schalkwyk also hopes to contribute significantly to the Buccaneers' quest for Nedbank Cup glory with the invaluable lessons learnt in the Brazil and Germany training camps.
"Winning this cup would bring a positive end to our season.
"This is our last opportunity at silverware this season. And personally, it would be nice to bag a medal in my first season here."
Admittedly, Schalkwyk did not enjoy the best of times on his arrival from Bucs' arch-foes Kaizer Chiefs.
Injury played havoc with him and coach Rudi Krol wasn't really an admirer of the former Under-23 international.
In fact, it took brief appearances with Bafana for Krol to see the midfielder's worth.
Schalkwyk believes Sunday's winner will go all the way and lift the R6million first prize.
"We've had a great victory in the last round and though sometimes we get excited as players, we need to focus entirely on the upcoming match," he said.
Failure to nail down a Bafana place should not derail Schalkwyk's progress at Pirates. If anything, he should prove his Bafana critics wrong with a fine display against Sundowns, who also face a trophy drought this season.
In other quarterfinal matches, Bidvest Wits will host FC Cape Town at Milpark, while AmaZulu welcome University of Pretoria to Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
Free State Stars entertain Mpumalanga Black Aces at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Sunday.