Mcaba vows to make most of surprise Bafana call-up

Stellies defender has youth international experience

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Athenkosi Mcaba of Stellenbosch FC was called up by Bafana Bafana.
Athenkosi Mcaba of Stellenbosch FC was called up by Bafana Bafana.
Image: Gerhard Duraan

Young Stellenbosch utility defender Athenkosi Mcaba has conceded that like many, his Bafana Bafana call-up caught him by surprise, banking on his international experience at youth level to help him knuckle down.

Mcaba, 20, is a surprise inclusion in Bafana’s squad to take on Guinea and France in friendlies this month in Europe. Bafana will play France on their turf on March 29, having had battled it out against Guinea in Belgium four days earlier.

“I won’t lie, I was surprised when I saw that I made the squad. It’s not been long since I started playing regularly in the Premiership, so I wasn’t expecting a Bafana call-up anytime soon but I am so excited,’’ Mcaba told Sowetan yesterday.

“This call-up has taught me that if you work as hard as I have been doing, you must always be ready to be rewarded. I will make sure that I do well to repay the faith the coach [Hugo Broos] has shown in me.’’

The lad from Springs on the East Rand may not have had received a senior national team call-up before, but he’s no stranger to representing SA as he was part of the Amajimbos squad that lost the Under-17 Cosafa Cup final to Angola in Mauritius in 2018.

“I was in Mauritius with the U-17 when Angola beat us in the Cosafa Cup final in 2018, so I have had that feel of representing my beloved country. I believe the experience at youth level will help me gel easily with the Bafana team,’’ noted Mcaba, who initially joined Stellies as a Diski Challenge player in July after impressing on trial.

Mcaba is primarily a centre-back but he can also operate at right-back. The Stellies starlet disclosed what he thinks are his strengths and weaknesses.

“My strengths, I use both feet and I am comfortable on the ball. My weaknesses…I can say I lack pace... it disadvantages me at times. I can also improve my organisation skills during games,’’ Mcaba stated.

Mcaba’s fact file

Date of birth: January 9 2002

Place of birth: Springs, Gauteng

Former teams: Jealous Down FC (amateur side in Springs); Bidvest Wits Academy (from 2017 to June 2020); Cape Umoya (early 2021 to June the same year); Stellenbosch Diski side (June 2021 and was promoted to the first team in August the same year).

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