Kegan Johannes has had a small taste of international football in his short career, and wants to perform on the biggest stages of the ‘beautiful game’.
The right back – who can also operate at centre-back – first made his name at Cape Town Spurs, where he played more than 50 games.
But now an established part of Gavin Hunt’s squad, Johannes is hoping to push on to greater heights over the next few seasons.
Play as many games as possible
“My goal for this season is to play as many games as possible. I’ve had a setback with injuries, but in the next few seasons, to go abroad... The way has been paved by the likes of Lyle Foster and Percy Tau,” Johannes told Independent Media on the sidelines of an event hosted by his sponsor, Under Armour, in Cape Town recently.
“You can see there is opportunity now for players from South Africa to go into that spectrum and showcase what South African talent is all about.
“I am aiming quite high, and working hard towards that. I’ve always tried to challenge myself. It doesn’t help to grow as a player if I just become comfortable, because then I would become complacent.
“I try to give my best, because you never know who’s watching. You have to keep working and pushing, as you don’t only do this for yourself, but for younger kids from your community.
“You have to have a vision, a mindset as to what you are doing it for. That’s what I’m doing it for – for the kids of Cape Town and South Africa, to give them hope.
“Coach Gavin is fantastic. The way he understands players and the way he deals with certain situations, it’s magnificent. You can see his experience... he has obviously been a coach for many years now.
“The things he can teach you on and off the field are things you need to listen to. I only have high praise for him, because that’s what he’s been – like a father figure.”
But the immediate focus for Johannes is Sunday’s Caf Confederation Cup clash against Egyptian side, Modern Future, in Cairo (3pm kick-off).
Looking for that spark
Matsatsantsa a Pitori didn’t have the best of finishes before the international break, drawing 1-1 with Polokwane City before going down 2-1 to Sekhukhune United on November 12 – although they are still second on the league log on 23 after 12 matches, behind Mamelodi Sundowns, who have 24 from eight.
But SuperSport will hope to return to winning ways in Cairo, as the next encounter is the big Tshwane Derby against Sundowns next Wednesday.
“Being back now (from an ankle injury) is really good, as I missed playing. It means a lot to me as it’s difficult to sit on the side and just watch. The past results haven’t been what we would’ve wanted it to be, but that’s football,” Johannes said.
“We just have to work on the next games and try to be more consistent – and just keep working harder. That’s where our identity as a club comes from: the hard work behind the scenes that people don’t see.
“This international break gives us a time to reflect and come back stronger. We will first go to Egypt for a Caf game, and then we play against Sundowns.
“You are playing against the best on the continent, and that’s where you test yourself and your character, to see where you are at. We are aiming for it to be a consistent thing for the club.
“Sundowns have been setting the standard. They are certainly doing something right, but for us as a club, we just need to focus on what we do best and plan accordingly – as we’ve done before.
“We can’t be going in scared... We just have to focus on our game and playing our normal game.
“There is always a lot at stake in a derby game, and it’s a top-of-the-table clash as well. No one wants to lose, and we are going in with the mindset of getting maximum points.”