Bafana Bafana midfielder Ethan Brooks has opened up on his incredible display against Ghana and the influence of head coach Hugo Broos.
Broos made it known from his opening press conference when unveiled as the successor to Molefi Ntseki as Bafana boss that he would look to youth to usher the national team into a new era.
And the 20-year-old TS Galaxy talent has been one of the beneficiaries of his vision after first impressing during the 2021 Cosafa Cup triumph before his call up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this month.
He played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 win over Ghana that's put South Africa in pole position at the summit of Group G to advance to the playoffs for the global showpiece which he admits was a surreal occasion.
"It was amazing for me, I've been watching Ghana since a very young age, it's one of my mother's favourite African teams, so it was a very good experience for me to actually start the game and finish it, I learnt a lot throughout the whole game, it was amazing," he told the club's media department before opening up on Broos.
"He [Broos] made it very easy for in the day before, he just said I need to play as I play at the club, play with confidence, don't be scared and do what I do and everything will come right.
"He gave me that belief to go out on the field that I can go out and play against those big guys on that field and I was confident like I've been there for a while, but it's about the coach believing in me."
After several industrious displays in national team colours which began with his surprise debut in the 3-2 international friendly win against Uganda in June, the 20-year-old says he's aiming to continue his upward trajectory as praise flows from supporters but emphasised that the doubleheader against Ethiopia in October is already on his mind.
"I'm happy to have those praises and let people give those comments, I'm happy with it but at the end of the day it's me that has to go on the field and do the hard work to make sure those comments continue to come through," Brooks added.
"Yes [the result], it gives us a lot of hope you know, being on top of the league is very good for us, it's not over, we're going to play Ethiopia [next].
'Hopefully, we can do what we did against Ghana there and stay on top of the log. It's vital that we get that six points."