DURBAN - The story of Siphesihle Ndlovu has been a tale of unforgettable joy and heartbreak. Ndlovu's contribution to Maritzburg United's successful 2017/18 season earned him the PSL Midfielder of the Season and the Young Player of the Season awards.
But this season Maritzburg are winless in four matches in all competitions and have a single point from a goalless draw against Kaizer Chiefs. Ndlovu was given his marching orders in that match.
Despite these challenges Ndlovu made it to the Bafana Bafana squad that will face Libya in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Durban next week. He is elated to be called up and is looking forward to the challenge.
“The Bafana call-up is motivation for me. I’m delighted to receive the national team call-up. It is always an honour and privilege to represent my country. As much as we haven’t done well as a team, the fact that they called me shows that they saw something in me and Siyanda Xulu (who was also called up). They really recognised our efforts,” Ndlovu explained yesterday.
Ndlovu faces strong competition in the middle of the park. He will be up against Bongani Zungu who plays in France, Kamohelo Mokotjo who is doing wonders in England and Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United captains, Hlompho Kekana and Dean Furman respectively.
Ndlovu is hungry for an opportunity: “People will be expecting me to play. If I get an opportunity, I will make use of it. That is all what I’m hoping for. I’ve learnt a lot about being part of the national team. Your mind must change from the team level to the international level. At international level, you are representing your country. I’m always well prepared to stand for my country and I’m always willing to put any effort expected of me."
I'm honored and very delighted to be representing my country again ⚽️😊🇿🇦. pic.twitter.com/cKY2DoR0pB— Siyanda Xulu (@siyanda_xulu) August 28, 2018
As much as he is up against an experienced contingent he is well aware that they are pushing for the same goal. “We are all together in this fight (to take the country to Cameroon in the Afcon next year). We know each other. I look forward to working with them next week,” he added.
Ndlovu is under pressure to replicate the football that saw him inspire The Team of Choice to fourth spot in the league as well as reaching a cup semi-finals plus a final. “Expectation is something that I can’t change. It is there and I have to deal with it. As a team we haven’t done much. When the team is not doing well, people don’t notice your efforts. I’m very calm about everything. I’m just hoping that soon it will get better. I know I will come back stronger," Ndlovu elaborated.