Luther Singh has starred for the South African U23 team in the Olympic qualifiers. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Luther Singh has starred for the South African U23 team in the Olympic qualifiers. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Striker Luther Singh wants to express himself in Bafana camp

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Oct 7, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana striker Luther Singh says he’s grateful for the opportunity of being surrounded by experienced players and contributing to the senior national team after his recent call-up ahead of the back-to-back international friendly matches.

The last time Singh was part of the Bafana set-up was 16 months ago, although he hasn’t been completely out of the picture, having played an integral role in the Under-23 team qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old made his comeback to Bafana after he was called up to the squad that will clash with southern African neighbours Namibia and Zambia in friendlies at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg tomorrow and on Sunday respectively.

“It’s always an honour and privilege for me to represent my country, regardless of the age group,” Singh said.

“It feels good to be back in the national team after a long time and once again I am grateful for the opportunity that I got.”

Singh is currently on the books of Portuguese top-tier outfit FC Paços de Ferreira, where he’s on loan from SC Braga.

His involvement in the Bafana set-up is part of an integration plan of young blood by coach Molefi Ntseki as they gear up for a congested 2021.

Come next year, the South Africans will wrap up their 2022 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and begin their 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifiers, while Singh and the Under-23 national team will be hoping to represent the nation with distinction at the Olympics.

With so much at stake and Ntseki looking at the two friendlies to fine-tune his preparations for the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against Soa Tome and Principe next month, Singh knows that he may not necessarily lead the line against the Brave Warriors and Chipolopolo.

Nonetheless, he hasn’t been deterred from his urge to put in the hard work at training and on the pitch if he gets the opportunity. After all, he knows that learning from experienced campaigners such as Kermit Erasmus, Percy Tau and Lebogang Manyama will do him the world of good.

“With the quality that we have in camp, I feel like we can learn a lot from the experienced guys,” he said. “It’s just for me to express myself and try to learn all that I can from the senior players that have represented the team at the highest level before.”

Bafana are second in Group C in the Afcon qualifiers with three points, three behind leaders Ghana, who defeated them 2-0 in the opening round. But should they get maximum points against the islanders, Ntseki’s men will take a gigantic step towards qualifying for their second successive Afcon.

But while most domestic leagues around the world are already busy with their 2020/21 domestic seasons, the resumption of international football in Africa has given a sense of gratitude to players such as Singh, who were deprived of football when the pandemic was at its peak.

“We went through a period of difficulty, not just footballers. But I am glad that things are slowly but surely getting back to normal. It was difficult being away from football for a quite long period of time,” Singh said.


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