DURBAN – Bafana Bafana midfield dynamo Kamohelo Mokotjo wants to finally nail down a permanent place in the national team - starting in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Mokotjo has represented South Africa from Under-17 level up until the senior national team, but he is yet to don the Bafana jersey at a major tournament.
He was the captain of the U12 team that lifted the Nations Cup in France in 2003.
His rapid rise saw him graduating to Amajimbosi (SA U17), Amajita (SA U20) and the SA U23 team. Despite all of these achievements at the junior level, Mokotjo had to bide his time in the senior national team.
He finally made his debut back in 2012 in a friendly match against Mozambique, but he has since played in only 11 games.
The next step for him is to represent SA at a major international tournament, but the skilful midfield ace is calm about his situation.
“For every game that I played for the national team, it is important regardless of the competition or whether it is a friendly. I just take it one game at a time and make sure that I perform to the best of my ability,” a relaxed and confident Mokotjo said.
The Brentford midfielder is expected to play a pivotal role in the middle of the park.
Bafana were dealt major blows when Hlompo Kekana, Themba Zwane and Bongani Zungu were forced to withdraw from the squad due to injuries on Monday.
Dean Furman also sustained a knock this past weekend when SuperSport United got the better of Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-final of the MTN8.
Furman is yet to train with the squad. But Mokotjo is not feeling any pressure to step up and showcase his class in the absence of injured players.
“Games are won everywhere. Everyone has his role. What happens is that we have players that have been here before. Players that I hear need to step up. It is just a simple as that I think,” Mokotjo said.
Mokotjo battled to command regular game time for Bafana under previous coach Shakes Mashaba, but he always knew that patience was a virtue.
“For me it is just an honour to get called up. I knew the game time was going to come as long I’m doing well for my club. I just take one step at the time regardless of what anyone says. It is just important that I focus on myself. Take my time with my craft,” he added.
Bafana could enhance their chances of qualifying for Afcon 2019 if they beat Libya on Saturday. Both teams are currently level on three points each after one match. Nigeria will take on the Seychelles in the other match in Group E on Saturday.
“I think we need to focus on what we can do best. I think that’s the secret really. Nothing special. This is a very important game. It is a qualifier. We need to get the maximum points.
It is good that we are playing at home. All the boys are in a positive mood for the game coming up, “ Mokotjo elaborated.