Khumalo relishing chance to shine for Spurs

JOHANNESBURG - Bongani Khumalo missed Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League triumph over Inter Milan because of an electricity shortage in his neighbourhood but believes he can shine when he joins them in January.

The 23-year-old South Africa defender will move to Tottenham from domestic champions SuperSport United when the transfer window opens and will compete for a centre back spot with the likes of William Gallas and Ledley King.

Khumalo, who scored for Bafana Bafana against France at this year's World Cup, impressed Spurs manager Harry Redknapp during a two-week spell with the north London side at the end of August - part of a partnership between the two clubs.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity, it's a brilliant chance but I realise there is a lot of hard work ahead of me," Khumalo told Reuters on Wednesday in his first interview since the transfer was confirmed last month.

"I'm not sure how easy it is going to be to get into the team, I just know that if I want to do well. It means hard work and taking my opportunity when it comes."

USEFUL ADDITION

Khumalo did just that when he burst from the fringes of the South Africa squad to play in all three of their World Cup matches after he was called up to the pre-tournament squad when his team mate Morgan Gould suffered a freak ankle injury.

With Tottenham experiencing injury problems in central defence with Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate sidelined, Khumalo will be a useful addition to Redknapp's squad and he is determined to make an impression.

"I think I have the qualities that can benefit the side, both in defence and because I can move forward and score goals," he said.

While Khumalo was unable to wach Tuesday's 3-1 win over Inter on television he is aware of the excitement around the squad.

"I definitely think Spurs are a happening club, they have a real quality about them and they've got big plans for their future," he said. "It's exciting to be part of that."

Khumalo, who is studying part time for a university degree, said he was confident he would fit in.

"I'm fortunate to have been coached by coaches who believe in a bit of aggression on the pitch and who have encouraged me to show passion. That's what I intend to take to Spurs."