Gladwin Shitolo is proof patience pays

Gladwin Shitolo finally earned a Bafana Bafana call-up at the age of 30.
Gladwin Shitolo finally earned a Bafana Bafana call-up at the age of 30.
Image: Dirk Kotze \ Gallo Images

Versatile Golden Arrows defender Gladwin Shitolo is proof that good things indeed come to those who wait.

When he joined Orlando Pirates six years ago from Jomo Cosmos he would have thought that would be one step closer to achieving his dream of playing for Bafana Bafana.

However, things didn't work out that way and he has had numerous loan spells at other teams. Shitolo has been loaned out to Platinum Stars, Chippa United and Arrows. At Arrows alone, he has had three loan spells.

Shitolo, though, never despaired and at age 30 has finally earned a call-up to the national team.

"To be honest I was so emotional when I found out about the call-up because it's something I had prayed about for very long," Shitolo said.

"I wouldn't say I was surprised because I was expecting it could happen at any time. When it happened I was thankful to the almighty God."

Shitolo's Bafana debut has since been delayed due to the suspension of sporting activities because of the coronavirus. The only other time he has received a call-up was for the Cosafa Cup in 2013, but he never featured.

With 25 appearances in all competitions, Shitolo has been crucial for coach Steve Komphela and has only missed two games. The devout Christian can play both centre-back and defensive midfielder positions.

Despite his progress, the lad from Giyani, Limpopo, still wants to improve his game even further.

"I still feel that there is room for improvement. There were some performances that I was not very happy about this season but clearly it means the coach (Ntseki) saw something good in me that can be useful in the team."

About tarining by himself at his Durban home, shitolo said: "It is tough but we will emerge from this [lockdown] stronger."

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