Lindokuhle Mbatha - Fact File

Dikwena’s Mbatha Looks To Earn More Caps For Bafana

Lindokuhle Mbatha has been an influential member of the Platinum Stars team in the past few seasons and has won the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout titles with Dikwena. He had a chat with Sabie Chili about his first national-team call-up, his debut and his experience in the national team.

Personal Information
Full names: Lindokuhle John Mbatha
Date of birth: 25 June 1985
Place of birth: Newcastle

Position: Midfielder
Jersey no: 13

Club: Platinum Stars

Previous Clubs:
Brazil FC (amateur)
City Pillars (NFD)
Mpumalanga Black Aces

Nedbank cup runners-up (MBA)
Telkom knockout (Platinum Stars)
3 Caps for Bafana Bafana

Hola Lindoh, let`s talk about your first call-up to the Bafana Bafana squad for CHAN 2014, how did you feel about it?
I was happy. I didn`t know about the call-up. I just heard from people. They called, telling me that I would be part of the national team. I was travelling because I was on holiday and had not heard. I didn`t believe it, you know, but there were so many people congratulating me about it. I didn`t expect it.

Were you happy with your performance against Mozambique in your first match in a Bafana jersey?
I was happy about my debut, but when we talk about overall performances, I was not that happy. I believe I did not do exceptionally well. I would have liked to contribute more to the team. I hear people saying I did very well but I still have a lot to learn.

How did you manage to settle those inevitable debut nerves?
Well, I think I`m used to the huge crowds. I used to play for Mpumalanga Black Aces. The stadium was always packed and I got used to playing in front of large crowds. I think from that point of view, I was calm and managed to settle. However, the stage was different because the level was higher considering the fact that I was playing for the national team for the first time. In Rusternburg, we rarely played in front of huge crowds, but I calmed down in the end. The coach, senior players and the captain played a huge role settling me in the team. Itu Khune told me that anybody can make mistakes, and that I must feel free and play my normal game.

What did Gordon Igesund tell you?
He told me to take my opportunity, represent my country and do what I know best. He told me to relax and keep focused. He also said I should take on the opposition and use my pace to supply good crosses and ensure that the Mozambicans were under pressure.

The supporters are disappointed with the national team performance. How does it feel to have performed well, yet failed to succeed as a team?
It was painful. I thought we would go to the semi-final. In my mind I knew I was going to give my best for the team but unfortunately we got knocked out of the cup in the first round. We told ourselves as players that the biggest obstacle was Nigeria and we wanted to do well but I don`t know what happened on the day.
Ja, Nigerians are very strong and they were all over us physically. They were good at keeping possession. We just failed to make an impact against them. It hurt to lose in front of our home crowds. This was a tournament I thought we could win. But not progressing really hurts.

So now that you have played for the national team, what are your expectations? Are you looking forward to more games?
I`d like to get more call-ups, obviously, but football is unpredictable. Things can change. I can play well today but things could change tomorrow. There are good players playing in that position, but yes, I plan to keep working hard and hopefully the coach will pick me again. At the moment, I`m happy to be part of the team. I can`t talk much about the future.

We are told that you have already signed a pre-contract with the big spenders, Mamelodi Sundowns, is it true?
I don`t know of that my brother, I haven`t heard anything from my agent. As we speak, I`m still contracted to Platinum Stars until 2015.

Sure my brother, thanks for your time and we wish you all the best.
Thank you very much.