Kaizer Chiefs defender Njabulo Ngcobo has challenged his Bafana Bafana teammates to have their presence felt when they face Zimbabwe in Friday’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier in Harare.
The two sides meet at the National Sports Stadium for their Group G encounter as they kick off their bid to reach Qatar 2022.
Ngcobo does not want South Africa to just play a beautiful brand of football but is demanding a strong mentality and physical strength against their northern neighbours.
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“I’m just really happy to be here. I’m always happy to see the team play nice football, rather than just playing to win,” Ngcobo told the Safa media team.
“I think in our nation we have players who can play football nicely. I think we need to be strong mentally and physically we need to be there.
"As much as we can play good football, which is what I believe we can, at the end of the day we need to win and we need to be strong.”
The Amakhosi centre-back was a late call-up to coach Hugo Broos’ national team camp.
After initially being included in the provisional squad, Ngcobo was then dropped from the 23-man squad before being roped in following some injury concerns.
“We all know that it took a while for me to be here, but I am happy to be part of Bafana,” added Ngcobo.
“It means a lot that so many people believe in me and want to see me in the Bafana Bafana squad. Even myself, I have always wanted to be part of Bafana.
"I was already at home when I got a national team call-up because Chiefs gave us a break.
“So I was not in Johannesburg when I got the call to come back. I am always ready to come here.”
Interestingly, Ngcobo has not been playing at Chiefs but managed to earn the trust of Broos in this campaign, where they are looking to secure a World Cup berth for the first time since 2010.
Ngcobo is not the only Amakhosi player to be considered for national duty while struggling for game time in the Premier Soccer League.
Another Chiefs defender Austin Dube is also in Harare despite not enjoying regular playing minutes at the club as he boasts of only six minutes earned in their last game against Baroka FC.
“I had to stay ready for it, I am very grateful that I played my first official game in the colors of Kaizer Chiefs,” Dube told the Chiefs website.
“The national team call-up is an honour, being called to represent the country is always an honour, everything happened so fast for me I made my debut for Chiefs a few days ago and now I am at the national team.
"I am honoured to be part of the national team. I feel happy and these are joyful moments for me.”
Ngcobo and Dube were, however, instrumental in helping Bafana win the 2021 Cosafa Cup.