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Why Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Blom deserves his Bafana Bafana recall

17:34 GMT+3 03/11/2022
Njabulo Blom, Kaizer Chiefs, November 2021
The combative central midfielder was probably the best player on the pitch in Amakhosi's Soweto derby win over Orlando Pirates

Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Njabulo Blom has deservedly been recalled to the Bafana Bafana provisional squad for matches against Angola and Mozambique.

Blom, 22, was sensational against Pirates, seemingly covering every blade of grass as he put in tackles in the middle of the park, down the wing and even at full-back.

His quick-thinking and incisive play enabled Chiefs to keep the dangerous Buccaneers midfield at bay last weekend and was a big part of his side's success.

Nearly paid the price for being a team player?

Blom's resurgence to top form has coincided with his return to central midfield, having for some time been used as a right-back, especially by Stuart Baxter. This was primarily to cover Chiefs' shortage of options at left-back which had resulted in the normal first-choice right-back, Reeve Frosler, playing on the left-hand side of defence.

Because Blom did so well at right-back he ended up staying there for a long time, which made it difficult for Bafana coach Hugo Broos to select him. It didn't help either that he was playing in an Amakhosi side struggling for form last term.

But some fantastic performances in the heart of the Chiefs midfield over the past handful of games, since being entrusted in that role by head coach Arthur Zwane, have earned Blom his reward after he was called up by Broos for the friendly international matches against Mozambique and Angola later this month.

It's just reward for his hard graft and great attitude - even when being left out of the Amakhosi side earlier this season, he maintained his positive and professional attitude.

After a hiccup or two in his fledgling career and having lost his national team place, it feels like we're again seeing that exciting young player who was ushered from the Chiefs development ranks into the first team, with great success by former Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt.

It's now only two years since Blom burst onto the scene, a mark of how far he's come in a short time - a couple of years back he was barely known, never mind a household name.

“This youngster we've got.... errrr what’s his name‚ Blom?” Hunt said back in October 2020.

“Ja‚ I think he is the future‚ you know I think he has got huge ability. I’ve only watched him for a week but I have been really impressed with him.

“I thought he's certainly one for me‚ he can cover distances‚ he’s got a great engine and he can play.

"I mean he came on [in the second half] and in the first 30 seconds he played that big long ball to (Bernard) Parker and Parker could have scored.

“So ja‚ he’s got range of passing...I will work with him and show him a few things‚ and we will see how it goes."
It's gone well, as we've since found out.

Having at one point had issues with salary negotiations, one would think that on the basis of Blom's performances over the past few weeks, he would have convinced Amakhosi he’s worth putting in a higher pay bracket.

Otherwise, as has been speculated in recent days, Hunt may try and lure his former player across to SuperSport United.

Regardless though where he ends up at club level, Blom is deservedly set to be back on the international stage with the upcoming friendly games and will be hoping to also be part of the Afcon qualifiers next year March.