Cape Town City striker Kermit Erasmus surprised by Bafana Bafana call-up

The Citizens hitman has lauded his coach McCarthy after being included in the Bafana squad ahead of the continental tournament

Cape Town City striker Kermit Erasmus says he was surprised to see his name in the Bafana Bafana squad named for the 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations tournament.

The nippy forward has been included in the preliminary squad named by coach Stuart Baxter this week and he says he always wanted to play for the national team.

“I was just having lunch with a few friends and was following the squad announcement on Twitter, and I was obviously very happy to hear that I was named in the preliminary squad,” Erasmus told Phakaaathi.

“I always wanted to get back in the national team, it’s been a while since I was last in the setup, around two years, so I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

Erasmus was not part of the squad in their final Afcon qualifier against Libya in March 2019 and the former Orlando Pirates striker said he understood why the coach overlooked him.

“I always understood that it is the coach’s decision (when he was not called up in March). It did help motivate me to hear fans saying I deserved to be in the squad,” he continued.

“From my side, I just kept doing what I love doing – playing football and working hard every day at training. Everything will come in due time if you keep focused and put in the work,” said the striker.

“I work with coach Benni (McCarthy) doing extra training after our sessions. It’s been great for me, I looked up to him as a player when I was a youngster, he was my idol, playing the same position as me,” he reacted.

“I love working with him, both a coach and as a human being. I’ve thought that if I become a coach one day, I would like to be like him,” said the forward.

Bafana are set to face off with Namibia, Ivory Coast, and Morocco at the Afcon finals in Egypt.

“Some countries will think South Africa will be easy to play against. We have smaller players, but we make use of our attributes – our agility, speed, moving the ball quickly, we know how to play to our strengths,” he added.

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“It’s not just about the name (of some of the continent’s big stars). It’s 90 minutes, and we’re all humans after all. Yes, some players play in the big leagues, but it’s not about names, it’s about how much you as a team and a player want it on the day,” concluded Erasmus.

South Africa have been drawn into Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.

Bafana will begin their Afcon campaign against Ivory Coast in Cairo, before meeting Namibia and Morocco as they look to reach the knockout stages.