DURBAN – Having tasted what is it like to compete in a major international tournament, Orlando Pirates' attacking midfielder Gift Motupa, who is on loan at table-topping Baroka FC, has set his sights on becoming a regular for Bafana Bafana.
Motupa is one of the top goal-scorers in the Absa Premiership this season, having netted five times. He is level with Rhulani Manzini of AmaZulu, both trailing Polokwane City marksman Rodney Ramagalela by a single goal.
Motupa was one of the shining stars for South Africa’s Under-23 team at the Olympic Games last year in Rio de Janiero.
Having started like a house on fire in this campaign, Motupa is working diligently to catch the eye of Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.
“My focus is to play for Bafana Bafana. I have to keep on working hard and the rest will follow," Motupa said.
"In football you are as good as your last game. If you do well today and you don’t perform the next game, people will forget about you. So I need to be consistent with my performances,” he elaborated.
Motupa has already represented his country on 10 occasions and has managed to net four goals.
He was the member of the triumphant Bafana squad that took part in the Cosafa Cup in Zimbabwe a couple of months back.
He also played in the team that failed to qualify for the African Nations Championship that will be held in Morocco next year.
Motupa also disclosed his targeted number of goals.
“My target is to score 10 goals. If I can score 10, I will be happy because I’ve been getting regular game time for the past two seasons.
“I think that will be bring back my full confidence and it will motivate me to reach my fully potential as a player.
“I’m happy that I’m scoring and the team is also doing well and we are number one on the log. I’m happy for everything,” he said.
Motupa has attributed his good start to a fair opportunity he has been offered to showcase his talent at Baroka.
“It is a fair chance that I’m getting. That’s why I’m doing well,” he said.
“The more you play, the more you get better. You get challenged and you can see where you can improve as a player.
“I think they (Pirates) made the right decision for me to get game time. It was important for me to play week in and week out. I’m happy for that.
“My hard work didn’t start here at Baroka, but it has been shown here. I’ve been working hard for a while.
“Although I was not playing at Pirates, I have been working hard. I wanted to make sure that when an opportunity like this does fall my way, I can grab it with both hands.”