CAPE TOWN – Former Bafana Bafana star Delron Buckley says Cape Town City captain Thami Mkhize deserves his recall to the national squad.
“I played with Thami at Maritzburg United from 2012-14 and saw a professional from day one. Fast-forward to the present and I’m here at City’s practice ground and I’m very surprised how his football has improved dramatically.
“Now he’s one of the best right-backs in South Africa; he’s technically strong, very intelligent and has such an engine and stamina that he can run for 90 minutes.
“He can also overlap, play right or left wing. In a short note he’s the typical Roberto Carlos (retired Brazilian international),” said Buckley, who was capped 73 times and scored 10 goals for Bafana.
He hails from Durban but has been in the Mother City this week working on a documentary featuring former Bafana teammate and City coach Benni McCarthy.
He feels City are playing the best football in the country at the moment.
“That’s down to Benni’s approach to the game he excelled at as a player. His players respect what he’s been able to achieve and know how high the bar has been set,” he said.
“One thing about Benni is he’s not afraid to tell his players off when they slack. He has no favourite player, for him it’s a team sport. But having said that, he will back every squad member and encourage so that they can be the best they can.”
Mkhize heaped praise on Cape Town City and his teammates for his selection.
“Firstly, it’s a great honour to get a spot in the Bafana squad and I am grateful for the recognition. Then to my club who backed me from day one and my coaches and teammates whose hard work has made this all possible for me.
“I’m going to remain humble and it’s business as usual. We have a tough Premiership fixture to get through at Cape Town Stadium on Friday night with improving Polokwane City coming to us in good form.
“We want to make it a hat-trick of wins and keep the pressure on in the race for the title.”
McCarthy was happy for Mkhize and believed his charge deserved a call-up.
“I’m glad he has been given the opportunity by [Stuart] Baxter and I’m sure he’ll do his best for the country. He will take his performances for us into the national team and good luck to him and Bafana.”
Mike de Bruyn