Mkhize on tough journey to Bafana
Posted: 4 October 2017 Time: 11:45
Bafana Bafana newcomer Thamsanqa Mkhize says he never lost hope that he would receive a call-up to the national team.
The Cape Town City right-back was enlisted by Bafana coach Stuart Baxter for the crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
It's not been an easy journey for Mkhize.
The 28-year-old did well to revive his career at City last season after passing a trial, having previously seen a move to Orlando Pirates fall through after his contract at Maritzburg United was not renewed at the end of 2015/16.
Mkhize's switch to Pirates collapsed when Muhsin Ertugral took charge of Bucs, with the pair apparently falling out in 2011 during their time together at Golden Arrows.
However, Mkhize is in a good space now as a Telkom Knockout winner with the Citizens and in touching distance of making his international bow.
"Things are going the way I wanted them to be because when I left Maritzburg United with the intention of joining Orlando Pirates, my goal or my purpose was to play for a team that'll challenge for everything, in order for me to win and make a difference in my career," Mkhize tells KickOff.com.
"And then it happened what happened at Pirates, and I'm sure to many people they had doubts afterwards that this boy's career is over. I didn't think things would open up the way they have been, but then I had faith that I'll get a team.
"Fortunately I got a team and if you look at it, one can say I'm not playing for a big team. But the team I'm playing for is a big team because it is a club that is challenging for everything. That was my goal, that I want to play for a big team in order for me to win things."
Bafana enter the match against the Stallions with their backs against the wall following back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde and their sole win in Group D being deemed null and void after Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey was found guilty of match-fixing by FIFA.
Mkhize, who faces competition to start against the Burkinabe from fellow debutant hopeful Reeve Frosler, has faith South Africa can rally against the odds like he has in his career.
"What happened to me has opened my eyes about my situation, that there's always a possibility in life if you believe," Mkhize says.
"I wouldn't be part of the national team if I don't believe there's a chance. I'm sure the rest of the guys here will have not come just for the sake of playing. They are coming here to play for the national team to progress.
"From my side, maybe you guys can look at it as our chances are very slim, but there's always a possibility if you believe in those possibilities.
"In football anything is possible and we all believe in the national team that we can turn things around. We all believe we can do well in these two games and place the national team in the right position to qualify for the World Cup."
Bafana are bottom of the pool with a point from three games - five points adrift of joint-leaders Cape Verde and Burkina Faso, who have played an extra match. Senegal have five points from three fixtures.
The five group winners in the CAF zone will represent Africa at Russia 2018.