Usuthu left-back Sbusiso Mabiliso and AmaZulu Reserves striker Bayanda Shangase return to Durban as proud men after helping Amajita finish third in Niger after beating Nigeria 5-3 on penalties and booking their place at Poland’s May World Cup showpiece.
The tournament which was won by Mali who beat Senegal on penalties proved a stern test for Thabo Senong’s lads against tough African opposition.
However, being thrust into the deep end is what Phokeng born Mabiliso thrives under as the only regular Absa Premiership campaigner in the squad for South Africa.
The elated 19-year-old defender is hopeful their fit is but the beginning for the nation.
“Obviously to have qualified for the World Cup is an achievement for everyone. It’s a good feeling that I cannot get over.
“It’s a dream come true, and it’s going to be a good experience and test for me as a player to test myself, and also to show the world what the team can produce,” said Mabiliso.
Mabiliso is no stranger to achieving success with Amajita having played a huge role in the COSAFA U20 championship triumph of last year.
KwaNyuswa born Bayanda Shangase (19) has this season’s Multichoice Diski excellent performances to thank for attracting the national selectors his way and being Usuthu’s current leading goal scorer in the reserve league.
“The experience I’ve got will help me a lot. I’ll need to show somehow when I’m back with my team what it is exactly that I got in Niger.”
“As for the world cup, we’re happy we qualified as teammates, the technical team and staff.”
“I’m sure everyone in South Africa is also happy but from there it will be all about preparing for the competition,” said Shangase.