Mission goals for SA
As the nation waits for Bafana Bafana to score goals against Seychelles in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier this weekend, striker Lebogang Mothiba says he does not feel the pressure to perform miracles.
Bafana meet the Indian Ocean islanders at FNB Stadium on Saturday (3pm) and a win may see them top Group E depending on the result between Nigeria and Libya, who meet tomorrow in Kaduna.
The 22-year-old has shown real determination at training and even scored in the 1-0 win over SuperSport United in a practice match played at Sunninghill, Johannesburg, yesterday.
At the team's hotel, though, Mothiba has cut a relaxed figure and even when we sat down for the interview to get his thoughts on the Seychelles clash, he appeared at ease despite the nation's expectations.
"Now that I'm here, I want to give everything to help South Africa win," said Mothiba, who missed the goalless draw against Libya last month because of a hamstring injury.
"You know, as a striker people will always praise you when you score goals and it's a good thing, but they would expect more from you.
"And that most of the time puts strikers under pressure and they start dropping. That's why you have to keep your head down and focus on your own game.
"Don't start doing things that you never did before because people expect you to do more, so I just focus on my game and play the way I know how to play; that's why I keep scoring."
Mothiba has been in top form for his new French side Racing Strasbourg - he has four goals in six games and believes it's because he gets a lot of opportunities in the box.
"It's good to be back with my [national] teammates. For now I'm enjoying myself."
Sibusiso Vilakazi is out of the game after rupturing his left tendon Achilles, Bafana team doctor Thulani Ngwenya confirmed yesterday.
DID YOU KNOW?
Mothiba previously played as a centre-back for Mamelodi Sundowns' U11 juniors but switched to a striker when he moved to Kempton Park FC. He later played for Diambars Academy before joining Lille in 2014.