“I feel I can still get better, and the guys need to know me more,” says Lars Veldwijk. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Striker Lars Veldwijk hopes his hat trick in a training game would have caught the eye of Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations kickoff.

After Angola pulled out of a practice match on Tuesday night, the South Africans had to be satisfied with a game between themselves on Wednesday in Cairo.

And while such an encounter will never be the real thing, Dutch-based Veldwijk’s goals may twist Baxter’s arm when he compiles his starting XI for Monday’s Afcon opener against the Ivory Coast (4.30pm SA time kickoff).

Percy Tau is sure to lead the attack, and the other possibility upfront is for the French-based Lebo Mothiba to be the second striker.

But the 27-year-old Veldwijk, with his imposing 1.96m frame, does provide something different – a real target man that Bafana could do with against the Ivorians.

“I am adjusting to the Bafana Bafana life. Yes, it is a different culture from Holland, but I am really beginning to like it; it is getting better and better,” the Sparta Rotterdam player told the SA Football Association website on Thursday.

“I first came into this set-up two years ago, and have been part of this family now and cannot keep saying I am still adjusting to African style. I, however, feel I can still get better, and the guys need to know me more.

“We have had good preparations so far – in Johannesburg, Dubai and now here. We had a good practice match among ourselves on Wednesday, and it was nice for me to score some goals.

“For me, it is only to prove to the coach that I am ready, and hopefully I showed him enough.”


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