Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Steven Hoffman grateful for late South Africa Under-23 call-up
Posted: 23 March 2016 Time: 20:07
Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Steven Hoffman says he was delighted to receive a South Africa Under-23 call-up at the last minute to replace young Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Luthando Sixhaso.
Amakhosi’s MultiChoice Diski Challenge keeper Sixhaso has been ruled out of the Under-23s’ trip to Brazil due to a shoulder strain he sustained during training. Zitha Macheke has also replaced Abbubaker Mobara, who was dropped after he did not pitch for camp.
Hoffman, who missed out for the CAF Under-23 Championship in Senegal last year, was part of Owen da Gama's side during the qualifiers in the last match against Zimbabwe, which saw the team seal their place at the Rio Olympics later this year.
Da Gama's side will test the waters of Brazil when they face the Olympic runners-up of 1984, 1988 and 2012 on Sunday, 27 March at Rei Pele Stadium.
“This call-up is definitely one of the most important, if not the most important call-up I've gotten,” Hoffman tells KickOff.com.
“I was a bit sad to miss out in the CAF Under-23 Championship last year but clearly they had a plan and it worked out so I'm just grateful to be part of this trip. I was really excited when I got the message.”
Meanwhile, Hoffman, who previously played for Bidvest Wits, says this call-up is a reward for the work he has put in at his club, and now that he has been given another chance, he won't rest on his laurels.
“I’ve been working extra hard every day at training. Training in the afternoon with one of my teammates,” he adds.
“Every day I wake up and I just say ‘I’m working for the Olympics’ and whenever I feel like I can't push anymore, I think of the Olympics. It's really helping me at my club too … trying to reach maximum fitness.”
Hoffman will have a huge fight on his hands to displace Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper Jody February – the star of the show in Senegal last year – and Cape Town All Stars goalie Kyle Peters for the starting berth on Sunday.