Forgotten Menzi Masuku grateful for lifeline offered by Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter

Menzi Masuku has dropped off the radar so far since featuring for South Africa at last year’s Olympics in Brazil that a Bafana Bafana call-up for Saturday's low-key Chan qualifier against Zambia is seen as a lifeline by the former Orlando Pirates forward.

Masuku‚ following a starring role in Bafana’s Cosafa Cup victory under Shakes Mashaba in Windhoek in June 2016‚ started the 0-0 draw against Brazil and 1-1 draw against Iraq‚ and was a substitute in the 1-0 defeat against Denmark‚ for the SA U-23s at Rio 2016.

On his return Masuku was surprisingly and somewhat unceremoniously released by Pirates to join Chippa United.

A year later the talented but perhaps wayward forward can only look back on a 2016-17 season in Port Elizabeth where he did not score in 18 league games and admit: “I haven’t been doing well.”

Masuku is grateful for a call-up‚ even a late one after the squad was hit by 10 withdrawals‚ to coach Stuart Baxter’s side to meet Zambia in Saturday’s Chan (African Nations Championship) qualifier in East London.

“It’s always a special feeling to wear this jersey. It’s such a great honour to be back within the colours under the new setup‚” Masuku said.

“Hopefully I will grab the opportunity with both hands‚ and look forward for greater things this season.

“It’s just another opportunity because as you know it’s only local players here. It’s a chance for us to show the coach what we are capable of and the whole of SA what we can offer in the Bafana setup.

“I just‚ I think I haven’t really being doing well. I have to admit to that. Since I’m willing to learn.

“I realise that I haven’t been doing well. I think this is an opportunity that I have to grab with both hands.”

Masuku admitted his transfer to Chippa had been tough‚ and lack of form even tougher.

“I was new in a new city. And obviously being at a new club you know that everything is different‚” he said.

“And also‚ most of the time I was getting injured. So hopefully this season I’ll stay clear of injuries‚ and hopefully things will come right.” - SowetanLIVE