Cole Alexander happy to be given Bafana Bafana opportunity by Stuart Baxter
Posted: 30 June 2017 Time: 16:10
SuperSport United midfielder Cole Alexander is grateful to former coach Stuart Baxter for just his second Bafana Bafana call-up as he looks to get cracking in the Cosafa Cup.
Alexander arrived in camp on Friday as a replacement for the injured Aubrey Ngoma, who was ruled out after suffering a knee injury in training on Thursday.
"I'm feeling very happy and honoured to be here, and I'm grateful that they've selected me to join the team here," Alexander told SAFA.net after his first training session.
"It's unfortunate that Aubrey got injured, and I'm very disappointed to hear that, but at the same time I'm happy that I was chosen to come in and I want to thank the coaches for selecting me and giving me this opportunity."
The 27-year-old central midfielder makes just a second appearance in a national team camp, after previously featuring under Shakes Mashaba in a friendly international against Swaziland in March last year.
However, he was also rule out through injury midway through the camp and thus empathises with his Cape Town City counterpart, who was sent back to the Mother City on Friday.
"I know how he [Ngoma] feels. I got injured in Swaziland and I had to get sent home, which was a bitter pill for me to swallow because it was my first call-up. I know it's not nice, and I wish Aubrey a speedy recovery," he added.
Having worked with Baxter at club level over the last season, Alexander admits he has a slight advantage over his teammates in understanding what the coach expects, but insists he still has to work hard and show his worth in training.
"Yeah, definitely [it's a bit easier for me]. I worked with coach Stuart for one season and I've learnt so much under him," said the former Polokwane City workhorse.
"Personally I would have liked to have done more in my year at SuperSport with him, but as a team we obviously achieved a lot. I'm just grateful for him calling me up now to the national team.
"I still need to put in the hard work and most of us that were at SuperSport and have worked with him have an idea of what he wants, and I think it gives us a slight advantage.
"I still think we still need to push hard and do well, but the coach is someone that rewards players that do well, and he'll definitely call you up."
The Cape Town-born midfielder has been injury-laden over the last 12 months, managing just 10 appearances in all competitions at his Tshwane side.
"It's been tough trying to come back from injury but I'm fully fit now. My injuries threw me off a bit in the league, but I'm good to go and I'm glad that I'm here now because I can train and keep fit.
"I actually don't want a holiday. I want to keep on working and kick the new season off on a high," he concluded.