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Matlaba hopeful of start

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CAPE TOWN — Orlando Pirates fullback Thabo Matlaba is hopeful of a starting place in South Africa’s World Cup football qualifier against the Central African Republic on Saturday.

MTN Football

An injury to Kaizer Chiefs left-back Tsepo Masilela has opened up a place in the first team and Matlaba, who shared duties with Masilela at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, must be favourite ahead of uncapped Tebogo Langerman.

“I think the fullback position in the national team is available for any player who is ready to take up the challenge,” Matlaba told reporters.

“Most guys that have been preferred in that position are currently injured or recovering from injury. With that current situation at play, I have told myself that I must make the best of this opening and show the coach that I want to help the team in that department.”

Matlaba believes that Pirates’ participation in the CAF Champions League has given him an insight into what to expect from other teams from the continent.

“Playing in the African Champions League has also given me more confidence to play at international level. If selected to start the game on Saturday I will give it my all and help my country collect all three points on offer, but if not then I will definitely support whoever the coach decides on,” he said.

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