Kwem wants to play for Bafana Bafana at Fifa World Cup - Chippa United's Nigerian striker

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Augustine Chidi Kwem of Chippa United, February 2020
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The burly frontman revealed he looks up to South Africa internationals Grobler and Erasmus

Chippa United centre forward Augustine Kwem is ready to pledge his allegiance to South Africa and represent the country at the Fifa World Cup finals.

The Nigeria-born player caught the eye in his debut season in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) last term and he finished the campaign as the Chilli Boys' top goalscorer with eight goals across all competitions.

When speaking to the South African Football Journalists Association (Safja), Kwem admitted that competition is tough for places in the Nigeria and Bafana squads. 

”I have an ambition to represent ‘a national team’, not my national team,” Kwem said. 

“I’m joking, whichever comes [first]… I know there is a lot of competitiveness everywhere. But if I get a call-up, I will take it,” he added.

The 23-year-old player came to South Africa in 2018 after parting ways with Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem's Under-19 team. 

Upon his arrival in South Africa, Kwem spent some time playing in the lower leagues turning out for the University of Johannesburg, City Rovers, Mthatha Bucks and Sibanye FC.

When asked if he would be open to playing for Bafana, Kwem said: “Yeah, I am open to it… as long as I can play Caf [Africa Cup of Nations] and at the World Cup, then it’s a dream come true. And then when I sleep at night, I will sleep fulfilled."

The hard-working player is aware that he would be competing with the likes of SuperSport United striker Bradley Grobler and Mamelodi Sundowns frontman Kermit Erasmus if he is handed a Bafana call-up by national team head coach MolefI Ntseki.

“There are quality striker in both countries, I don’t want to lie. [In SA] the likes of Brad Grobler, he’s exceptional that guy. Technique wise… I played against him both home and away [last season]," he said.

"He scored a brace against us when we went to Pretoria. The likes of Erasmus as well, he scored against us too. Those are the guys who have been around, and those of us who are still young look up to them and we want to reach the levels they’ve reached.

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“The thing is to trust the process and not to give yourself challenging roles, but at the same time challenge yourself to get better. Set the targets and other things will follow."

Kwem, who signed a new three-year deal with the Chilli Boys last month, has netted once in four league matches for the Eastern Cape-based side this season.

Bafana's next match is against Ghana in the 2022 Afcon qualifier in March 2021.

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