November 22 2013 at 03:03pm By Tshepang Mailwane
Johannesburg – It would take some getting used to for Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane, watching Bafana Bafana’s games on television now that head coach Gordon Igesund is building a squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with younger players.
But the 31-year-old Kaizer Chiefs midfielder refuses to believe his international career is over.
Omitted from the squad that beat Spain 1-0 at FNB Stadium on Tuesday, Letsholonyane says players should not be picked based on how old they are, but rather on what they can offer. And he believes he still has a lot to offer the national team which he’s represented for the last five years.
“I don’t think age matters, not only in the national team, but at club level as well. If you can still do the job and represent the country the way it should be done, then you should get a chance.
“I would have loved to play against Spain, but it’s one of those things,” said Letsholonyane, capped 46 times with just two goals to his name.
“When you are a youngster you are not given a chance because you are inexperienced, so when you have experience, now it’s also an issue that you are too old. How many years is old?
“I believe a 32 year old can still do the job. It depends on the coach. I’m not the one who selects the team. I just have to keep working hard. I need to do the things that made me play for the national team in the first place. So we will see.”
Igesund has recently shown faith in Andile Jali, a player he had not picked in any of his squads until recently when he could no longer ignore his stunning performances for Orlando Pirates in the CAF Champions League.
His midfield partner at club level, Oupa Manyisa, started in midfield against world champions Spain and Dutch-based Kamohelo Mokotjo came on against the No1 ranked country and showed promise, creating Bernard Parker’s goal.
Dean Furman has seemingly cemented his place at the heart of midfield since making his debut against Brazil last year and there’s still Kagisho Dikgacoi and Bidvest Wits’ Sibusiso Vilakazi, who is knocking on the door.
So Letsholonyane’s pursuit for a regular spot is currently under serious threat. But he’s not giving up hope just yet, especially with the half century cap milestone around the corner.
“These players also want to represent the country. Whoever is working hard will get picked. Sometimes you can do your best, but if the coach decides to pick that team for that game, it’s his call.
Letsholonyane scored the opener for Bafana in a 3-0 victory over Swaziland before returning to the Chiefs camp this week to prepare for the Telkom Knockout semi-final clash against in-form Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium on Saturday (8.15pm).
This is the second semi-final Amakhosi have reached this season, but they have not been consistent. Letsholonyane admits he is not satisfied with how Chiefs are playing at the moment.
“I’m happy with how we playing, but I am not satisfied. Obviously people are comparing us to last season after winning the league and Nedbank Cup.
“But we are in the top eight, so we are still fighting to win the league. Teams now know what we can do. They expect us to play transition football, so they are cautious. It’s a challenge because teams are more organised when they play against us.
“We are ready for Platinum Stars. We are hungry to win things. We will do our best to get into the final,” Letsholonyane said.