LISTEN TO EPISODE 8 OF THE COSAFA SHOW!
Former Bafana Bafana defender Bongani Khumalo is now an elder statesman at SuperSport United, but after scoring against France at the 2010 World Cup won a dream move to Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premiership.
But a serious injured picked up while playing for Bafana in a friendly against Brazil in 2014 would not only end his European dream, but also likely cut short his international career.
Khumalo tells The COSAFA Show about his initial struggles in Europe, and how his misfortune against the South Americans would come at a heavy cost.
“It was interesting, when I went over to Europe [in January 2011] the first year was very hard, I struggled just settling in, and with injuries and all sorts,” Khumalo says.
“The next year I went away to PAOK in Greece, which was an interesting experience. It was a very different style of play but I think towards the end I started to enjoy it and played well. It was a good season for the club that year.
“Then I went back to England and played for [English Championship] Doncaster Rovers, where it was all about getting experience as I was still a youngish player at the time.
“They bet on potential and I was willing to work hard, I didn’t mind taking a couple of steps back to move forward. I thought I was doing well, they had just been promoted from League One and had good players.
“It was a challenging club to play for and provided great tests, but just when I thought I was getting used to playing football in England, the style and the intensity, I found myself back Randburg lying in a hospital bed wondering if I would ever play football again.
“That injury [ruptured knee cap] against Brazil … at the time I don’t think I realised how big it was, I only realised that once I started playing again … the timing of it was just the worst.”
Khumalo would be out the game for a year, never played again for Bafana Bafana and returned to South Africa for spells with SuperSport and BidVest Wits.
You can listen to the entire interview on The COSAFA Show this week.
We also speak with Mozambique coach Luis Goncalves from Portugal, where his team are playing friendlies during the FIFA window.
Finally, we round up all the upcoming games for COSAFA sides as international football returns to the African continent for the first time in almost a year.