JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs’ assistant goalkeeper coach Brian ‘Spiderman’ Baloyi could come-out of retirement this weekend if necessary to play for South Africa’s Castle Africa 5s champions Milano FC when they feature in Africa’s six nations tournament that will be hosted in Zambia this weekend.
Milano will have Baloyi as their mentor and substitute player when they compete for a ticket to go and watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia against Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Lesotho and tournament host’s Zambia.
With the Johannesburg-based team only having six players in their squad, Baloyi might be set for a cameo in likely suppressing conditions such as an injury. However, far from wary, ‘Spiderman’ says if he has to put his boots back on, there won’t be a shock reaction from his system.
“I’ve played five-a-side football before, and I love this game,’’ Baloyi said. “If I have to play there (in Zambia) it’s not going to be a shock to my system. It won’t be as if I am playing something that I don’t know. When I play five-a-side I don’t play in goals, people who know me when I play this game, know that I am a finisher – I score goals.’’
He continued: “Coach Pitso (Mosimane) and late Shoes (Moshoeu) were the ones that introduced me to five-a-side 15 years ago. When I started playing this game, I wanted to improve my technique so that’s why I play as an out-field player.’’
Baloyi and his charges will fly out to Lusaka on Thursday, where they are set to meet up with the rest of their counterparts and mentors Lehlohonolo Seema (Lesotho), Tinashe Nengomasha (Zimbabwe), Christopher Katongo (Zambia), Siza Dlamini (Swaziland) and Ivo Mapunda (Tanzania).
To add the cherry on top to the list, they’ll also get to watch the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool with Africa’s all-time best footballer Samuel Eto’o – who’ll also accompany the winning team to Russia this June.
The 44-year-old former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper says that as a mentor he’ll have to bring his a-game if they are to make the trip to the global showpiece.
“I want to go to Russia,’’ Baloyi declared. “I (as a mentor) need to make sure that we win. My job is to get these boys informed about the format of the tournament.
“When you play a tournament over two days, and there are only six players, you need to have strategies. They are going to have to rotate a lot to save their energy.’’
Although it will be the team’s first competition in Africa, they’ve already played in overseas countries such as China, Brazil and they’ll be hoping to make their second trip to Russia. Captain Brendon Morris says they are ready for their first continental football as they've thoroughly prepared for the tournament.
“We are ready and excited,’’ Morris said. “We can’t wait to get started. We’ve been playing together for many years and have previously represented South Africa abroad. We’ve prepared well for the event.’’
The full squad is:
Brendon Morris, Kyle Koert, Gabriel Thomas, Luciano Van Heerden, Sibusiso Makhoba and Lebohang Sekgoto.
Player/Coach: Brian Baloyi