Booysen grateful for Bafana lessons
Posted: 23 July 2017 Time: 14:26
Bafana Bafana defender Mario Booysen says it has been a fruitful few weeks on national duty and believes he has improved from the international experience gained under Stuart Baxter.
Booysen was part of the recent squad that took part in both the COSAFA Castle Cup as well as the back-to-back CHAN qualifiers against Botswana, in which he captained the team.
The 28-year-old centre-back feels there was plenty to take during the players' time in camp despite missing the opportunity to enjoy some time off amid the domestic recess.
"Overall we've learnt a lot over these four weeks and we walk away from this camp today knowing that we've grown as players," Booysen told SAFA.net.
"We are going back to our clubs with more football knowledge and these experiences must be taken on board in order for us as players to grow.
"Whether you're young or experienced, each player in this camp can walk away with a positive attitude and I think it was a fruitful four weeks.
"At times it felt long but if we have to look at it holistically, we were here to work and wanted to do well in representing our country. We were priviledged to have been chosen and we all did well as a team collectively."
Personally, the Cape Town-born defender has endured a difficult time since joining Mamelodi Sundowns from Maritzburg United on a five-year deal in 2014, having spent the last two seasons on loan at SuperSport United with limited game-time.
Despite his struggles, Baxter showed faith in Booysen's ability and in turn he feels grateful for the opportunities granted to him, as he remains optimistic ahead of his return to his parent club when they return to prepare for the 2017/18 campaign on July 31.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity given to me, there are other players who would have loved to be in this position and for me to be here is a great priviledge," he added.
"Going forward it's only more hard work in order for me to improve, so I think I had to take things on board and try to improve in certain instances, especially in the games.
"I can now go back and check where I went wrong and If I get another call-up I will try and be better as a footballer and possibly also a leader.
"It wasn't difficult for me to be captain because the group of boys here are professional and mature, and because there were other leaders and experienced guys in the team."