It’s the right time for the 22-year-old goal ace from Boksburg to leave Mzansi for greener pastures in Europe, says former Bafana Bafana marksman Shaun Bartlett.
“It’s the perfect time for Bernard to move overseas; he is on fire and scoring goals and who knows it might not happen again,” Bartlett reasons out.
“It’s time for Thanda to cash in; I’m sure they will find another player. But for now they should give Bernard an opportunity to further his career overseas.
“I have watched him and he is very good off the ball and in creating space, which makes him different from other local strikers. He is predominantly left-footed, but I have seen him shooting penalties with his right.
“Obviously, he doesn’t have height which is expected from strikers, but he makes that up with his speed and ability to go past defenders. Now is a perfect age to groom him into a top class striker. The move will benefit him and also the national team; we need a striker to help Benni upfront.”
Bartlett knows what he is talking about. He had just turned 23 when he helped Cape Town Spurs win the League and Cup double in the old NSL in 1995. He scored three goals in two games at the end of that year when Bafana lifted the Four Nations Tournament, a precursor of the 1996 African Nations Cup, which Bafana won and which set him up for a long career in the MLS and later in the tough European circuit.
“Whether it’s Sweden or any other European country, you are going to, it doesn’t matter,” Bartlett continues.
“It depends on what type of player you are. You must be willing to learn if you want to further your career. Bernard looks like he is a down-to-earth person, so he can be successful. But leaving South Africa is not easy, because you are going to a new environment, especially weather-wise, which you have to get used to quickly. As soon as he gets there he must familiarise himself with the place, and if he gets someone off-the-field to rely on, he will do the business. When you are happy off the field, your performance will go up.”