Erasmus was here with the national team before this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) but he didn’t make the cut for the final squad that reached the quarter-finals in Egypt. Before that he hads said that he wasn’t a back-up player after being sent an SOS by Shakes Mashaba to replace Tokelo Rantie who was a no-show.
But in Molefi Ntseki, Bafana have a coach who understands Erasmus and the Cape Town City striker understands him, which could lead to a better working relationship, and more importantly the 29-year-old fulfilling his potential in the national team.
“I am getting older,” Erasmus said. “I am not a young kid anymore. With time you mature, and you see things differently. You try take control of the things you have control over and what you don’t have control of, you let be. That’s what I have learned.”
Erasmus returned to the national team after a scintillating start to the season. He will look to take that form to Lusaka where Bafana take on Zambia on Saturday in an international friendly. Erasmus has backed Ntseki to succeed, having known him since Erasmus was a teenager. The pair worked together at under-20 national team level in the World Cup in Egypt 10 years ago.
“He has known me since I was a kid,” Erasmus said.
“I remember playing against him when he was still coaching Harmony Sports Academy.
“They were a tough team to beat and play against. It just shows the type of coach he is and the brand of football he wants to play. It’s the type of football that we are known to play as South African players. It’s entertaining and going forward with a purpose to get results and score goals..
“He understands us as players, the culture of South African football, the culture of us South African players and what it’s like growing up as a South African player. He knows what difficulties we face. I think that plays an important role, especially on how to manage the players. It will be a good thing going forward.”
Erasmus hasn’t fulfilled his potential at national team level or at club level. But in the two coaches he has at Bafana and at club level, Ntseki and Benni McCarthy, the Port Elizabeth-born striker has coaches he admires and who could get the best out of him. The disappointment of missing out on the Afcon is in the past; Erasmus is focused on achieving better things.
“Obviously I was disappointed, but I don’t think that anything at this point in my life can break me. Any setback, any failure or however you put it, can’t break me now because I have been through things much worse than that.
"Coming from Europe, not getting to play regularly for almost two years of my career. At this point in my life, I am at a stage where nothing can break me mentally. Yes, I was disappointed but it’s not the end of the world. My life still continues. My kids are still healthy. I am happy that I am playing again and that’s all that matters.”