Bafana Bafana can benefit from Themba Zwane's creativity at AFCON

Bafana Bafana can benefit from Themba Zwane's creativity at AFCON

Bafana Bafana legend Sibusiso Zuma has expressed genuine admiration for Mamelodi Sundowns captain Themba Zwane.

Zuma believes that Zwane’s exceptional skills in the midfield could significantly benefit the South African national team during the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, scheduled from January 13 to February 11.

Despite Zwane being observed from a distance, the former Orlando Pirates star is impressed with the player’s performance over the years.

Zuma had expressed a desire to witness Zwane along with Monnapule Saleng of Orlando Pirates, playing in European leagues.

Yet, acknowledging that Zwane, at 34 years old might be considered too old to embark on a European career, Zuma still believes that, at his peak in the West African country tournament, Zwane could play a pivotal role in causing upsets against formidable opponents in this bi-annual event.  

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“I admire Zwane as a player for his exceptional talent, showcasing his ability to compete with some of the top players on the continent. Zwane is a highly skilled player who, in my opinion, should already be making a mark in European football. It’s perplexing to me that this hasn’t happened yet,” Zuma said to SABC Sport.

“Regarding Zwane’s age and eligibility, I’m not certain, but I’m eager to witness him playing in Europe. Bafana would undoubtedly gain from his talent in the AFCON finals. Zwane’s creativity and ability to make things happen could significantly contribute to the team,” remarked Zuma.

Zuma holds the belief that the scouting landscape in South Africa has undergone significant changes since his days in amateur football, which, in his view, is a key reason why Zwane wasn’t identified by the top European leagues.

“At one-point, South African footballers were spread across Europe, including Turkey, Italy, and England, as scouts actively targeted the talent in South African football. The scouts recognized the quality of our players. However, there has been a decline in recent times, and we must elevate the standards to create opportunities for our players to make a mark in Europe. Despite the continued presence of talent, there is a need to enhance the overall quality of our domestic league. Some local players seem complacent, often citing weather concerns, and display reluctance to pursue opportunities in Europe,” explained Zuma.  

In Group E, Bafana is paired with Mali, Tunisia, and Namibia, and Zuma expresses confidence that they can secure the top position in the group following the conclusion of the round-robin matches.  

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