By Adeboye Amosu:
Bidvest Wits defender, Thulani Hlatshwayo is relishing his return to the Bafana Bafana squad to face Nigeria in an international friendly encounter this weekend Completesportsnigeria.com can report.
The former Ajax Cape Town stalwart was part of coach Shakes Mashaba’s side that were knocked out at the group stage of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, but a concussion against Senegal forced Hlatshwayo out of the final match against Ghana.
However, the defensive stalwart is now fully fit and says he is happy to be back in coach Shakes Mashaba’s squad.
“First of all, I am very happy that I have been given a chance again to represent my country, it’s always an honour,” he told kickoff.com.
The 25-year-old was also absent when Bafana Bafana travelled to the Akwa Ibom Stadium in Uyo,Nigeria for the second leg of the 2015 Orange CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier where it ended with a 2-2 stalemate, and says he and his teammates need to be wary of a possible grudge-match next Sunday.
“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,” says Hlatshwayo, who played in the first leg with ended 0-0 in Cape Town.
However, Hlathswayo also emphasises the importance of not underestimating neighbours Swaziland, in their first friendly on Wednesday, while focusing too much on The Super Eagles.
“But before we get to Mbombela for the Nigeria clash, we have to deal with Swaziland” insists Hlatshwayo.
“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 in the last outing we lost to Ghana, so we need to get back to our winning ways,” he adds.