SAFA are doing their best to get Crystal Palace defender Nikola Tavares to play for South Africa's national teams
Posted: 12 March 2019 Time: 16:00
Crystal Palace defender Nikola Tavares has expressed an interest to play for South Africa rather than Croatia, according to national under-23 coach David Notoane.
Notoane has included the Cape Town born player, who holds a Croatian passport, in his squad, but it’s uncertain at this stage if he will be in the country to honour the call-up. Notoane says they are trying as much as possible behind the scenes to ensure the right processes are done to have the playing representing.
Tavares, who has represented Croatia at under-20 level, is a highly rated defender who was named captain of the Crystal Palace under-23 team last year.
Notoane says the player would add a lot of value because South Africa does not have many left-sided central defenders. He’s left it to the administration of SAFA to get the necessary information and paperwork to have the player on board.
"He is a boy that I checked personally in terms of the reports we get weekly. I saw that here is a Nikola Tavares who is playing consistently in the Crystal Palace under-23 and luckily the senior coach [Stuart Baxter] also had an eye on him and we discussed possibilities of him coming," Notoane explained.
"Croatia is also looming, they invited him first by the way to the under-20s. So we have a situation where I think there is something. He is a left-footed centre-back and there’s not many in the country that you can draw into from the database.
"He has given the commitment to avail himself, so we are checking other logistical issues in trying to win him over."