Orlando Pirates midfielder Xola Mlambo has yet to receive a Bafana Bafana call-up, despite being one of the standout players in the Absa Premiership this season. The midfielder is not bothered at missing out, saying he has used it as motivation.
Mlambo has received praise from the coaching staff at Pirates, with assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena going as far as calling him the best central midfielder in the league.
Stuart Baxter, however, decided to go in a different direction, leaving Mlambo out of his squad last month in a friendly match against Paraguay, despite the squad suffering from injuries. Mlambo is also not selected for the games against Nigeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
The midfield maestro, however, has not let the disappointment affect him and instead has looked to use the challenge as motivation to improve.
‘As a professional player you need to know and understand the challenges that comes with being a professional,’ Mlambo told The Citizen.
‘All that talk (about his inclusion in the Bafana squad), I didn’t let go to my head.
‘I took it as a motivation for me to work even harder. Because not being given the opportunity to play for the national team, it says, maybe there’s a lot that I still need to do,’ he said.
‘There are areas that I need to improve on and those are the bases that I need to focus on. That is what I need to focus on, not on why I have not been included,’ he continued.
‘I’m working on improving myself and the (Orlando Pirates) technical team is helping me to improve. Maybe my hard work will bear fruit and see me playing in the national team,’ the 27-year-old concluded.
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