At 34, Hlatshwayo still fancies his Bafana chances

He's also urging Ikon to choose SA over Nigeria

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Thulani Hlatshwayo of Supersport United
Thulani Hlatshwayo of Supersport United
Image: Gerhard Duraan/ backpagepix

Ex-Bafana Bafana skipper Thulani "Tyson" Hlatshwayo has insisted that his international career isn't yet over, as he eyes to still form part of the national team under incumbent coach Hugo Broos.

Given Broos' continuous selection of veterans such as Siyanda Xulu and Thabang Monare, who do not even feature regularly for their clubs, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates, Tyson fancies his chances.

His mentor at SuperSport United, Gavin Hunt, is among the people who back the veteran defender to return to the national team.  The former Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates defender boasts 54 Bafana appearances with four goals.

"I've made it clear that it's always an honour for me to represent my country. I haven't retired from the national team, so I am still available,'' Hlatshwayo said at the PSL Player Transition Programme graduation at Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) last week. He was part of 26 players from various clubs who participated in the programme.

Hlatshwayo also opened up about the role he's playing behind the scenes in trying to convince his highly rated SuperSport teammate Ime Ikon to choose SA, his country of birth, instead of Nigeria, from where his father hails.

Ikon, 20, has made it clear that he hasn't yet decided his national allegiance, despite having been included in Bafana preliminary squads in recent times. 

"He grew up here, he studied here, and coach Gavin Hunt took him from Randburg Football Club. He is South African, and he speaks Afrikaans. I have told him he needs to stay in South Africa because it will be difficult for him to crack into the Nigeria national team,'' Tyson said of Ikon.

Hlatshwayo even quipped that he'd stop mentoring the young centre-back if he finally opts for the Super Eagles. "I told him I am going to stop helping him if he chooses to play for Nigeria because there are things in his game that need to be polished,'' Hlatshwayo noted.

"The more he plays, the more experience he is going to get, and he will do well. I don't know if it has something to do with him being young, but he is quick and strong, and we complement one another very well."

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