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Kaizer Chiefs' Du Preez has golden chance to jump Bafana Bafana queue

21:34 BST 23/09/2022
Ashley Du Preez
The Amakhosi marksman was called up by national team coach Hugo Broos after injury had forced Lyle Foster to withdraw

A last-minute call-up for Kaizer Chiefs striker Ashley du Preez to the Bafana Bafana squad to play Sierra Leone and Botswana gives him a wonderful opportunity to take his career to the next level.

Lyle Foster is not the only Bafana striker out through injury; also missing are Bongokuhle Hlongwane of Major League Soccer outfit Minnesota United, Evidence Makgopa of Orlando Pirates, Percy Tau (Al Ahly) and Fagrie Lakay (Pyramids FC).

Meanwhile a dip in form for players like Keagan Dolly and Victor Letsoala has seen them losing their places in the team.

So effectively, Du Preez has come right out of the blue to take the opportunity - somewhat like his Orlando Pirates counterpart Zakhele Lepasa, who was named in the initial squad.

For Du Preez, who was four years ago playing for Stellenbosch in the National First Division (second tier), it's a remarkable rise as he now finds himself leading the line for South Africa's biggest club and now also set to represent his country at senior level. It clearly means a lot to him:

"The first people I informed were my family; they were very happy for me. My mom was crying," the Amakhosi striker revealed to the Safa media channel.

“I was at practice at Chiefs, and on my way home, I received a call [from Bafana management].

"At that moment, I was just overwhelmed. I don’t have the words to express the feeling," he added. "I wanted this opportunity, it’s here now. I’ll grab it with both hands. I am enjoying every moment."

Overcome inconsistency

Du Preez is about as quick a striker as you'll see anywhere and has loads of talent and potential.

However, at 25 years old, he's no longer a youngster and it's as good a time as any to make his mark on the international stage.

A bit more composure - the speed of mind to match his quick body, and the self-belief required at the top levels, are what the ex-Stellenbosch speedster needs to add to his game.

If he does get some minutes and manages to do well and even registers on the scoresheet, that would also help give him the confidence to return to Amakhosi and fully establish himself in the team by scoring more goals.

So far, Chiefs fans have only really seen glimpses of the new signing at his best.
It’s an opportunity that has probably come quicker than xpected and it’s up to du Preez to back himself and make the most of it and not look back.

South Africa host Sierra Leone at the FNB Stadium on Saturday and then play Botswana on Tuesday at the same venue.