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Phiri: I Don’t Know If Broos Knows Me…

Lebogang Phiri has bounced back in Turkey after a year injured, and is wondering if Hugo Broos is monitoring his progress closely.

The 27-year-old midfielder is one of the newest recruits as Super Lig outfit for Çayuk Rizespor where he’s enjoyed a relatively good start in his first season despite a knee surgery that derailed his international career.

His recovery is timely, right around the time Bafana Bafana have a coach who is starting afresh and building towards the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup three years later, though the qualification trail to next year’s global showpiece remains a possibility – but that will surely be a bonus.

Phiri would love nothing but to be part of it.  

“I haven’t had a conversation with the coach in charge right now. I don’t know whether he knows me or not. But I feel like as a coach of the national team he should know a pool of the players that he has in the country that have represented the country at one given point in time – either in the junior or senior ranks,” he told the Siya crew from Turkey.

“He should know players in higher rated leagues in the world that could represent the country. And of course, after that the decision is his to make along with his selection panel. I don’t make excuses for anybody, that’s not what I do and I won’t say we’ve had talks. Everything these days is just a click away – for anyone to know Lebo Phiri’s whereabouts you just click on a computer screen, no need to jump on a plane.”

But he is in no way bitter about not having had a look in up to now as Phiri expects his hard grafting on the pitch to do the talking.

In fact, the midfielder views being called up as something of great significance not just for his career, but even beyond that.

“Of course, I would have loved to get an opportunity. A lot of people, when you talk about the national team, they have their own opinions about who should be there and who shouldn’t. But for the players the national team selection is an honour,” Phiri insisted.

“Whether or not I get to play when I am there, it doesn’t really matter. Just being able to be recognised as a national team player is something that is the greatest honour that we carry as individuals. When I go on a social media page and I am referred to as a Bafana player based abroad, that gives me something else rather than anyone just saying Lebogang Phiri. It’s a status that motivates you, gives you the confidence to break down barriers and to help those that come after you.”

It’s refreshing to hear a footballer talk about representing his country with such class and dignity, even when he is not sure Broos has him on his radar…

Story by @superjourno

 

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