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This is a wake-up call – Hlatshwayo on Bafana exclusion

Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo

Orlando Pirates defender Thulani Hlatshwayo admits he has struggled in his first season at the Soweto giants and that his recent Bafana Bafana omission is a wake-up call to work harder.

The former Bidvest Wits man made the move to Pirates after years of speculation linking him to the club. He, however, endured a terrible 2020-21 season in his debut campaign as a Buccaneer.

With Hlatshwayo struggling for form at club level, he was subsequently left out of the Bafana squad that will face Uganda in an international friendly at the Orlando Stadium on Thursday (6pm).

Having been the side’s captain under the previous two coaches, Hlatshwayo admits he hasn’t done enough to warrant a place in the side, but is determined to work hard and earn his spot back.

‘Obviously, it was my first season at Pirates and I know I performed badly. As it’s the off season now, it’s for me to go and make sure I come back stronger,’ Hlatshwayo told the Sowetan at an event where Vodacom partnered with Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs to donate food parcels at the Soweto cricket oval in Moroka.

‘I need to come back stronger, that’s the only option for me. The national team is our team; everyone can be a national team player. It’s not Tyson’s team and for you to be called up; you need to do well at club level first and I haven’t been doing [that]. Probably this [Bafana exclusion] is a wake-up call for me to work harder to be called up again.’