By having five players from the National First Division (NFD) as well as two Amajimbos players plus one from the Amajita squad to add to 12 Premier Soccer League players, Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba says he wants to increase the pool of players in the South African Senior Men’s National Team.
Among those from the NFD is left back Sibusiso Mxoyana of Vasco da Gama in Cape Town.
The Daveyton-born defender came through the ranks of Orlando Pirates where he spent four season in the first team but could only manage one substitute appearance against Moroka Swallows in November 2011, leaving the club the following season.
After a brief struggle with his career, he resurfaced at Milano FC in Cape Town before signing for neighbours Vasco da Gama last season.
Mxoyana has already played in the South African junior National teams – the highlight being the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. He has been capped at U23 level.
Just a day after he was capped at Bafana Bafana level – SAFA Media sat down with him in Lesotho where the national team is preparing for the forthcoming COSAFA CUP which gets underway from 17 – 30 May.
South Africa’s first match is against Botswana on Sunday, 24 May at Moruleng Stadium in the North West Province.
Kickoff is at 17h30.
Matlhomola Morake: Who is Sbu Mxoyana?
Sibusiso Mxoyana: I was born and raised in Daveyton, in the East Rand. I used to ply for a club in our township under the leadership of a man named Kenneth. Then I got a chance to play in some school tournament that took us to France. On my return I went to Biest Wits juniors, but I could not afford everyday transport to attend training sessions. I then decided to join nearby side Benoni Premier United and I think that is where my career blossomed. That is where I also got my first SA U23 National Team call-up. I worked very hard during that time and was constantly in the U20 and U23 national teams.
MM: How do you feel about the Bafana Bafana call-up?
SM: I am happy to be here because it is not everybody who gets a chance to be called to the national team. I can only thank God because I have been waiting for this chance for a very long time. I have been praying to get this opportunity, now I need to thank those who have supported me up to this point – including my teammates at Vasco da Gama.
MM: Who was the first person you spoke to after you got the call-up?
SM: Actually I got the call-up on my way to Pretoria as we were going to play there. The team manager of Vasco informed me, I was over the moon after that. I immediately called my mom to tell her the good news, she was very elated to hear that. She has been praying that I reach this point.
MM: Is it now a dream come true for you?
SM: Absolutely yes. My dream has come true and it came as a surprise when I least expected it.
MM: How is it like playing under Shakes Mashaba?
SM: It’s a good feeling. I believe those are the people to help me in my career so I can improve where I am lacking. I am glad I have this opportunity.
MM: How did you end up at Vasco da Gama?
SM: I ran into some challenges and then I struggled to get a team. So a certain guy recommended I go to Milano in Cape Town, and he actually took me there. I trained for two weeks with them but they said they were not happy with me. So they same guy said I shouldn’t give up, and took to me Vasco where I fought my way into the team and they signed me.
MM: Are you settled at Vasco?
SM: Of course, I am very happy there because they really welcomed me very well, it is like I am home. All wished me well. But obviously, like any player, I would like to see myself playing in the PSL or even abroad so I can also make a name for myself.
MM: Now you are with Bafana Bafana, what came into your mind when you heard your name in the starting eleven?
SM: Eish, I was a bit scared because I wasn’t expecting to be in the starting line-up. For me it was good enough just being called into the squad. But then I turned around and told myself that this is the chance I have been given to show what I am capable of, so when the regulars of Bafana Bafana come my name will also be called alongside them.
MM: In your own opinion, how was your game?
SM: I am very happy with my performance even though I know I can do better. I also believe I did not play my normal game because I was not free as I didn’t want to make mistakes. I can say I enjoyed my game but I was not the normal Sibusiso that I know can play as well as I am used to. I think though I will be better should I get another chance. I will have to fight hard though
MM: Two friendly matches remaining – Lesotho and Malawi – what do you think are your chances?
SM: I believe my chances are good, but I have to fight to retain my position because there is a lot of competition and if you are not a hard worker and are not committed you will never play. Also don’t forget to pray, and then everything will be all right.
MM: And our chances in the COSAFA CUP tournament?
SM: I last played them when I was in the junior national teams but I do know they are not that different from the team we faced here in Lesotho. We all know that our neighbouring countries, whenever they play us they want to prove a point and go all out. To them it’s like playing the final of a competition. So we have to go there with a positive mentality, and not underestimate them – which is what I think happened in our match against Lesotho, we only realised on the field that they meant business. So we need to change our mentality and take it serious from the onset and not look at who the opposition is for us to succeed in the COSAFA CUP. We also need to be united and support each other whether you are playing or not. Take each and every match like a cup final because as a country we have capable players and we can win things.
MM: Where will Sbu be in the next five years or so?
SM: I think I will be playing in the PSL if I am not abroad yet.
MM: Favourite local player and why?
SM: Tsepo Masilela who has been my idol since his days at Benoni United. Everything he did I tried to do as well, and I told myself that someday I would like to be a left back like him. Many have said I play just like him but I don’t let that go to my head, I focus on my job. It would be nice to walk in his footsteps but achieve more than he has because he as always been my role model.
NB: South Africa and Lesotho meet in a practice match at 15h30 at the Setsoto Stadium on Saturday, 16 May.
Source : South African Football Association