Tiyani Mabunda welcomes call-up despite late arrival
Posted: 10 November 2016 Time: 21:38
Bafana Bafana midfielder Tiyani Mabunda feels nothing like a back-up player following his late arrival as a replacement to the injured Dean Furman.
Mabunda on Wednesday evening joined the camp in Polokwane after Furman was ruled out of the World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Saturday, due to a fractured rib.
The midfield workhorse has enjoyed a breakthrough season for Mamelodi Sundowns, playing a pivotal role in their maiden continental triumph last month.
Despite arriving with just two training sessions before the crunch clash, 'Shuga' feels he is at no less of an advantage as those who have been present all week, and expresses his gratitude for the opportunity that has been granted to him.
"I honestly don't think I'm at a disadvantage," he said after joining the team for their first training session on Thursday evening.
"It's all up to the coach's plan that he has for the team on Saturday, and the mere fact that I was given a call-up is good enough for me.
"If I'm called up to do the job on the weekend, then I'm ready. I've been through much more difficult situations in the past few months, and I've learnt to grow and be able to rise up to the occassion."
The former Black Leopards defensive midfielder previously represented the national team during the days of 'Amabinneplaas', at the CHAN tournament back in 2011.
Mabunda has since gone on to become an extablished professional and, at the age of 28, finally makes the step up to the big stage – something he relishes and says he has been praying for for quite some time.
"I played for the Amabinneplaas before, in the CHAN tournament in 2011, but for the senior team this is my first call-up," he adds.
"I'm grateful that I'm finally able to represent the first team of the country."