Thabo Nodada on Bafana Bafana: 'It doesn’t upset me or get to me at all'
Cape Town City’s influential midfielder Thabo Nodada does not feel hard done by the fact that he has not received a Bafana Bafana cap yet‚ despite his name being mentioned for national team call-ups far more regularly than he gets one.
Nodada (25) puts the fact that he has actually only had one call-up to the situation that he hit commanding form relatively recently in his career‚ then hit injury.
He said he felt the call he received‚ without playing‚ from then-coach Stuart Baxter for the back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles (a 6-0 home win and 0-0 draw away)‚ were just reward as he had started to boss the midfield for City around then.
Nodada was asked if he feels he could have had more call-ups as the Bafana head coaching baton has been passed from Baxter to incumbent Molefi Ntseki.
“Not right now. As we speak‚ no‚” he responded.
“No‚ I think if you look at my progression to when I really started putting a stamp in the midfield‚ I think you’d take it to midway through [former City coach] Benni McCarthy’s first season [2017-18].
“That’s when I really was on the mark‚ and really was performing‚ and I then got my chance.
"I didn’t play‚ but the coach at the time acknowledged my efforts and gave me the call-up.
“And then you move from there – the guys went to the Africa Cup of Nations finals [in Egypt in June 2019]‚ and I was injured. Had I not gotten injured I felt like I really had a great shot.
“Because I was coming off the MTN8 win that season‚ and we were up at the top of the league and chasing. And then that injury just flattened things out a bit and made me slow down.
“As for being a Bafana regular right now? I think I need to be called. But as for the coach out and out starting me? No‚ I don’t think at this point.
“It doesn’t upset me or get to me at all.”
Nodada played in 25 of City’s 30 Premiership games in 2017-18‚ scoring once‚ then injury saw him fielded just 16 times‚ again with a single goal‚ in 2018-19.
The midfield box-to-box player was having a strong 2019-20 before the league was suspended due to the coronavirus on March 16‚ impressively upping his scoring tally to five goals in 20 matches despite City struggling in the lower half for the entire campaign.
Nodada said his call-up for the games against Seychelles in October 2018 had reinforced how competitive the Bafana central midfield is for places.
“That’s the position that dictates how well-fed your attackers are‚ and how secure you are defensively‚” he said.
“And in South Africa you are not short of that‚ from defensive midfield‚ to the box-to-box‚ to your No.10s.
“And my first call-up was‚ not difficult‚ but I’d say the first two‚ three days was a movie in my head. I feel like I was role-playing something that was still going to happen.
“When I looked at the people around me‚ at the jersey on me‚ I couldn’t believe it. But somehow I felt like I belonged there.
“When I looked at the people around me‚ and what they all mean to their own club‚ I felt like I deserved to be there – like that’s where I should aim to stay. I didn’t play‚ but I had a ball there.”
City had climbed from relegation danger to 10th place when the Premiership was suspended due to the coronavirus.