Booysen relishing mentor role

A young Bafana Bafana outfit have shaken off the disappointment of being dumped out of the COSAFA Castle Cup and want to finish strongly in the Plate final.

South Africa were knocked out of the tournament by Tanzania at the quarter-final stage via a 1-0 scoreline but bounced back by winning their Plate semi-final game against Botswana 2-0.  

"It was a very tough game [against Botswana], and we wanted to bounce back after that disappointing loss to Tanzania, especially because we came into the tournament as the defending champions and hosts. But it was a good experience getting that winning feeling and now we want to build on it," he told SAFA.

The 28-year-old Booysen is among the most experienced players in the squad and with so many youngsters in the set-up he feels the responsibility of guiding them falls to players like himself, Lehlogonolo Masalesa, Cole Alexander and Lorenzo Gordinho.

"We have to be exemplary to the young boys. Yes they have played in the Under-20 National Team where they have done well, so they know the set-up and this is not a scare for them," he said. 

"But it is equally important for us plying our trade in the PSL to help them understand what the coach wants, and also to show them that leadership. It’s not about us, but about the team, we are not here for ourselves.

"As much as we have grown as players, we have to help the up and coming players, the good thing is that it’s not a big responsibility because football is one language. What I like about the camp is that we are all gelling nicely and we can talk about football anytime so that is good.

"We have to keep on encouraging the boys to believe in what they do and help them build on it."

Bafana Bafana contest the COSAFA Castle Cup Plate final, effectively a fifth place play-off, on Friday at 17h00.