Rodgers hopes for third time lucky

The lanky 31-year-old has been called up on only two previous occasions – once in 2008 and again in 2012 – and has had to wait another four years to return to the national setup, after being called up by Shakes Mashaba for their back-to-back fixtures against Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Rodgers, who scored in his club’s 3-0 demolition of Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 final last Saturday, has admitted that his recall came as a surprise but is relishing the opportunity to help the country in their bid to qualify for the world spectacle in Russia.

“Yes, it [my call-up to Bafana] definitely came as a surprise but, to be honest, I always felt that I would eventually have another opportunity,” said Rodgers during the Bafana press conference on Monday.

“I’ve been here two times before and I was hoping for a third time, and it came very quickly now – as I said it was a surprise – but I believe everything happens for a good reason so I’m grateful for the opportunity.

“Coming into the team after the previous times, [when] I never really had the opportunity to play, there are obviously many reason why I never got the chance to play, but we aren’t here to discuss that and I’m positive [of getting a chance this time].”

READ: Shakes happy with squad selection

Having last played in a friendly, when he made his debut against Malawi under Brazilian coach Joel Santana in 2008, the Cape Town-born goalpoacher is mindful of the mammoth task at hand but fully focussed on doing what is expected of him.

“I’m sure the coach has his plans on how he wants to go about things so it’s just for me to – if I get the opportunity – play my part and help the team do what is needed on the day,” he added.

“Going into the game [against Burkina Faso], it’s a big game… For us as professional players, we just have to do our jobs and do what the coach wants on the day.”

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