Cele Left Stunned by Bafana Call
18 December 2014
Mondli Cele says he nearly passed out after hearing about his call-up to the preliminary Bafana Bafana squad on Thursday morning.
The 25-year-old Durban-born midfielder was called up alongside Maritzburg United defender Kwanda Mngonyama for Shakes Mashaba’s preliminary squad for the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guninea.
Cele is in his first season in the PSL, having turned out for Port Shepstone-based Second Division side Gamalakhe United last season.
Cele tells the club’s official website that the news was totally unexpected.
“The coach was talking to us after training about the match against Polokwane this weekend,” he said, “afterwards he said that Kwanda Mngonyama and Mondli Cele have been called up to the Bafana squad. I was shocked, I nearly fainted! My mom called me soon afterwards and she was crying, while I also got messages from many of my former team-mates at Gamalakhe.
“It was a big surprise for me, I never expected this after only six months in the PSL. But it shows what hard work can do, and I’m grateful to my coach for pushing me so hard, and also for my team-mates – having so many good players around me means I always have work really hard to try and make the team.
“It’s a great opportunity for me now to go and rub shoulders with some of the country’s best players, to learn from them and from coach Shakes Mashaba. Playing with top quality players, different players in a different environment, can only be of benefit to me.
“I’m looking forward to meeting someone like Reneilwe Letsholonyane – he doesn’t play exactly the same position as me, but he’s a good player who I look up to, I like the way he conducts himself,” added Cele.
Coach Shakes Mashaba announced a squad of 34 players, with the final squad set to be announced on December 30.
Darren Keet, Jackson Mabogwane, Siyabonga Mpontshane, Brilliant Khuzwayo
Siyabonga Nhlapho, Patrick Phungwayo, Anele Ngcongca, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Kwandakwentsizwa Mngonyama, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Erick Mathoho, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thabo Matlaba, Mzikayise Mashaba
Themba Zwane, Andile Jali, Asavele Mbekile, Vuyisile Wana, Jabulani Shongwe, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bongani Zungu, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Dean Furman, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Oupa Manyisa, Mondli Cele, Mandla Masango, Thulani Serero, Thuso Phala
Ayanda Patosi, Bernard Parker, David Zulu, Tokelo Rantie, Bongani Ndulula