Bongani Zungu excited by Bafana Bafana competition
Posted: 7 June 2017 Time: 09:19
Bafana Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu has expressed his delight at returning to the national team fold after his breakthrough season at Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes.
Following an 18-month absence due to a long-term injury, Zungu was included in coach Stuart Baxter's first squad to face Nigeria in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo this Saturday (18h00 SA time).
The team assembled in Johannesburg on Sunday evening, but due to a flight delay the 24-year-old only met up with his teammates on Monday morning, and has since enjoyed the three training sessions under the new coach upon his return.
"I'm happy to be back. It's been a while and as everyone knows I had been struggling with injury, but it's good to be back and the preparations are going well," said Zungu.
"The coach is a very good coach, the sessions are nice and you can see everyone is very happy so we're looking forward to facing Nigeria."
The central midfielder, who can play both a holding or box-to-box role, has seen his fortunes change vastly at his club this season, after struggling to break into the first team at the beginning of the campaign.
Zungu has since managed 19 starts in all competitions and scored in their narrow 2-1 defeat to league champions Benfica in the Portuguese cup final just 10 days ago.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns man hopes to bring that confidence into the national team should he be selected to play this weekend.
"If I get a chance I'll make sure I grab it with both hands because it's very important for the nation that we [do well]; the competition is very good with a bunch of good midfielders who play locally," he added.
"It's exciting and I'm looking forward to bringing my experience from Portugal and using it here, and also help guys like Percy [Tau] to give them that motivation so that one day they can also go and play abroad.
"But as a team we're looking forward to playing against Nigeria and, if given a chance, I'll make sure I kill it man."
Catch our cover interview, in which Zungu opens up about life in Portugal, in Issue 482 of KICK OFF – on sale now! Or DOWNLOAD a digital copy of the magazine here!