Thulani Hlatshwayo Looks Forward To Nigeria Clash

Bafana Bafana defender Thulani Hlatshwayo says he can’t wait for the mouthwatering clash between South Africa and Nigeria.  The two nations meet in an international friendly match on Sunday, 29 March 2015 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.  Kick-off is at 15:30.

The BidVest Wits strongman was absent when Bafana Bafana travelled to Uyo Akwa Ibom Stadium in Nigeria for the second leg of the 2015 Orange CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier where it ended with a 2-2 stalemate.  Hlatswayo, who played in the 0-0 draw at the Cape Town Stadium said:  ‘First of all I am very happy that I have been given a chance again to represent my country, it’s always an honour.  The Nigeria clash is going to be very interesting.  You must remember we were the ones who denied them a chance to defend their AFCON title so they will be coming here with guns blazing and wanting to prove a point.  But the good thing is that lately we enjoy playing against them, they are very arrogant and that is only because they are confident.  But before we get to Mbombela for the Nigeria clash, we have to deal with Swaziland.  So we should not underestimate that match and throw all our focus on Nigeria as a loss in the first match could put us under pressure in the second match.  We should take one match at a time – we deal with Swaziland first and then we prepare for Nigeria.  These are two very important matches where we need to do well, especially because the last outing we lost to Ghana so we need to get back to our winning ways.’  The Clever Boys captain says he was saddened by missing the trip to Nigeria:  ‘As a footballer, you want to play every game of the national team, as long as you get a call-up.  So having to miss the match in Uyo due to suspension was not a lovely thing – especially considering the fact that in the first leg I believe I played very well and denied a chance to score.  But it is going to be a very difficult match.  It would be great to win, and not just win but also dominate them.  This is a new era and we want to also make our mark.’

Bafana Bafana camp starts on Sunday, 22 March in Johannesburg and they travel to Swaziland on Monday, 23 March.  The clash is scheduled for Wednesday, 25 March at the Somhlolo Stadium. Kick-off is at 19:00.

Photo credit: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix