DURBAN – The right back position is up for grabs for Bafana Bafana at the moment, and Cape Town City defender Thamsanqa Mkhize wants to own the position permanently.
Mamelodi Sundowns fullback Anele Ngcongca has owned the position for a number of years since taking over from Siboniso “Pa” Gaxa in 2009.
Ngcongca, who has been hit by injuries in the last couple of months since returning to South Africa, made 41 appearances for the senior national team.
Ngcongca operated at right back for Bafana during the Fifa World Cup in 2010, and at the 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa and Equatorial Guinea.
Mkhize made his debut this month when Bafana triumphed against Burkina Faso in a crucial World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium, and has vowed to own the right back position.
“I would be happy to make the right back position my own because I want to play all the time. I want to thank the coach for giving me the opportunity. If I can get another opportunity, I have to make sure that I’m consistent in my performances,” Mkhize said.
“Obviously it is not a secret that I want to command a regular starting berth, but I have to be consistent first.”
The Cato Ridge-born defender has a mammoth task of emulating other Kwa-Zulu-Natal (KZN)-born fullbacks who left their mark at Bafana level, such as Sizwe Motaung, Gaxa and Bryce Moon.
Motaung, who was born in Newcastle, made his name when Bafana lifted the Afcon 1996. The late Motaung went on to earn 51 caps for Bafana, having made his debut in 1992.
Moon was occupying the right-back position when Bafana participated in the Afcon in Ghana in 2008.
The Petermaritzburg-born fullback also represented Bafana in 2009 in the Fifa Confederation Cup, and received 17 caps, scoring one goal.
Gaxa also made his mark for Bafana at right back. The KwaMashu-born player, who is currently without a club, has 55 caps for Bafana.
He made his debut in 2005 and played in three different Afcons. He was also present in the 2009 Fifa Confederation Cup and 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“As a right back, my idol is Dani Alves. I love the way he conducts himself in that position. I grew up playing in midfield. I was converted when I arrived at Arrows,” said Mkhize.
“There are a lot of central midfielders. I was compelled to operate at right back, and I’ve mastered it since then.”
Isolezwe, IOL Sport