Maritzburg United buoyed by Bafana Afcon call-ups for Mngonyama and Cele
Posted: 23 December 2014 Time: 11:01
Maritzburg United captain Ashley Hartog says his teammates have been inspired by the national call-ups of Kwanda Mngonyama and Mondli Cele.
Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim Mashaba last week included the duo in his 34-man provisional squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, taking place from January 17 to February 8 in Equatorial Guinea.
Defender Mngonyama, who is on loan at United from Mamelodi Sundowns, has been on Bafana camps before, while winger Cele received his maiden international call-up. The 25-year-old Cele was playing third-tier football just over six months ago for Gamalakhe United on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.
“It's great to see two players from the club being called up to the Bafana side. It shows the team is doing well and their selection is an inspiration to the rest of the team,” Hartog told his club's official website.
On a personal note, Hartog has been an ever-present for the Team of Choice this season, but says he has felt no pressure to perform.
"It's been a challenge, but there’s no pressure on me with the team having done well for most of the season. The players have supported me by working as a team. I always do my best on the field. I’m not a big talker, but try to lead by example with my effort and work-rate.”
Meanwhile, the 32-year-old feels his side should have entered the season break in a higher place than seventh on the Absa Premiership standings after 17 games.
“Yes, we have done well with a lot of new and inexperienced players in the squad, but looking at the whole season, the form we showed earlier on, it was disappointing to end with a few poor results, and I feel we could have been in a better position by now.
“It’s been a case of not taking our chances, and also giving away silly goals. If you don’t score, you won’t win a match. It’s no use playing the best soccer if you’re not putting the ball in the back of the net and winning games.”