local soccer 7.8.2013 05:00 am

Gumede’s hard work pays off with SA call-up

Tsepo Liphoko (l) challenges Tshepo Gumede during the Absa Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Platinum Stars from Princess Magogo Stadium on May 11, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Tsepo Liphoko (l) challenges Tshepo Gumede during the Absa Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Platinum Stars from Princess Magogo Stadium on May 11, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

A season ago Tshepo Gumede was enjoying consistent top-flight football for the first time with Platinum Stars. Now he is in the Bafana Bafana squad to play against the African champions, Nigeria, in Durban next week in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

Gumede is one of five players – along with Buhle Mkhwanazi, Luyolo Nomandela, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Lebogang Manyama – who were rewarded with a call-up by coach Gordon Igesund, following their performance in the Cosafa Cup where Bafana Bafana finished third.

“It shows that there are always people watching, so you should always bring your A game at all times,” Gumede said.

“It feels great to be in a team that will be playing against the African champions because for Nigeria to win the Africa Cup of Nations, they had to show their quality. This is a reward for all the work that I have put in.”

Igesund also called up Andile Jali for the first time since he became the national team’s coach despite the midfielder producing some solid performances. His display against Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the Caf Champions League convinced Igesund to give Jali the nod, along with five of his Pirates team-mates.

Those six Pirates players will only play against Nigeria as the Sea Robbers will be against another Egyptian outfit, Zamalek on August 17 when Bafana Bafana play against Burkina Faso at the FNB Stadium in the Nelson Mandela Sports Day.

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