PRETORIA - It is only a matter of time before Mamelodi Sundowns defender Rivaldo Coetzee makes his return to Bafana Bafana and also leaves for big club football in Europe, according to coach Pitso Mosimane.
Mosimane was speaking in the aftermath of Coetzee’s masterclass performance in the art of defending in Sundowns 2-1 win over SuperSport United in Sunday’s Tshwane derby.
Still only 22, Coetzee was one of the most sought-after defenders in South Africa and was on his way to joining Scottish giants Celtic before a career-threatening injury dealt the former Ajax Cape Town star a cruel blow.
Coetzee painfully watched his dream of playing in Europe evaporate after failing a medical and found himself out in the cold before Sundowns came calling.
Even though Sundowns signed Coetzee last year, the Kakamas-born defender has spent the better part of a year on the sidelines after undergoing corrective surgery to his foot.
After only making two appearances for the defending PSL champions, Mosimane is more than convinced that Coetzee is ready to make a return to the national team and more importantly make the move abroad.
“It is so good to see him play. It is unbelievable that this boy hasn’t been playing football. He is Bafana material. This is what Bafana needs at centre back and he puts himself in the pool now. He can compete with Buhle (Mkwanazi) and Tyson (Thulani Hlatshwayo) now as much as they are good centre backs.
"Mosa (Lebusa) and Rivaldo are giving options to Stuart (Baxter) to say the pool is bigger now. They are strong on set-pieces, they pass well from the back and don’t panic. These are the players who are well developed from the Ajax Academy. It is good for South Africa that we have these two boys back and that’s why I play them in the Champions League,” Mosimane said.
Having played a hand in the European moves of former Sundowns stars Keegan Dolly, Bongani Zungu and more recently Percy Tau, Mosimane is adamant that Coetzee’s talent is being wasted in the domestic league.
“You can see the quality, he deserves to play in Europe. It was sad to see this boy not playing football because we invested a lot of money on his quality. In my opinion he needs to move. But he needs to play in Bafana. I think we are wasting his time,” added Mosimane.
Coetzee has made 23 appearances for the national team, and when he made his debut aged 17 in 2014 was the youngest player ever to play for Bafana.
Mosimane is almost certain to include Coetzee in his starting line-up when Sundowns face Leones Vegetarianos from Equatorial Guinea in the Champions League match to be played tomorrow.@Vata_Ngobeni
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