Tiklas Thutlwa is ready to take the next step of his football career to greater heights after earning his first Bafana Bafana call up.
The 22-year-old Black Leopards winger will form part of the Bafana 20-man squad for the upcoming Cosafa Cup tournament scheduled to take place from 7-18 July in Gqeberha in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
Success nevertheless seems to be just around the corner for the Limpopo-born rising star, who carried on his form from the other season to the just-ended DStv Premiership campaign.
His first cap will come as no surprise, however, for those who have monitored the down-to-earth winger’s progress during his playing days for Lidoda Duvha’s MDC side, will tell that Thutlwa is one of the best examples that investing in young players could be beneficial for many teams in our beloved country.
The talented footballer was an immediate hit after he got promoted to the senior team prior to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) resumption in August 2020.
He became an ever-reliable player for Leopards, scoring an important goal on his debut when his side defeated Maritzburg United 3-2 in a league match on 16 August 2020.
“I feel so proud of myself to be called into the Bafana Bafana squad, because it’s for the first time I receive a call up for national team duty,” Thutlwa tells FARPost.
“This came as a surprise given the fact that I’m still under 23 and I couldn’t believe that this is finally happening.”
Thutlwa is known for wowing fans with a string of mature performances and proved the faith of his coaches have had in him.
Last season, he played a total number of 17 games in all competitions – contributing two goals in the process for his side.
“To be honest with you, this call up is like a dream come true, because I told myself that one day I will get a chance to don the national team jersey and this is the moment I have been waiting for,” he adds.
“Many people have been encouraging me to keep on pushing given the fact that my age still allows me to flourish and that I will reach my destiny as long as I’m committed to what I do.”
He also expressed his excitement about Limpopo-based players who are currently getting called up for the national team in numbers – talking about the likes of Baroka duo, Mashweu Mphahlele and Evidence Makgopa.
“I’m so happy to see my fellow brothers from the province getting the recognition they deserve, and given the chance to showcase what they’re capable of and what they can do for our country,” he says in conclusion.
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By Mauwane Raophala