So excellent has Letsholonyane been on the field that he is now the top goal scorer in the Premier Soccer League with four strikes in seven matches. He shares the lead with four others – his clubmate Mandla Masango, Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), David Zulu (Chippa United) and Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars).
Both Masango and Zulu are also on national team duty with Yeye.
“It is good to be back. It’s always lovely representing your country, for me it’s an honour. Every time I am given an opportunity to don the national team jersey, I will do so with pride,” said Letsholonyane at the Bafana Bafana training camp in Phokeng near Rustenburg shortly before the squad’s departure to Congo.
The 32-year old midfielder is the most-capped player in the current Bafana Bafana squad. He has made 48 appearances, while the closest is Tokelo Rantie with 22, then Dean Furman on 20. Andile Jali comes in with 17, Oupa Manyisa and Thulani Serero are both on 15 while Eric Mathoho and Thabo Matlaba have 11 caps each. The rest of the players have played under 10 matches for South Africa, while some haven’t been capped – Dumisani Msibi, Rivaldo Coetzee, Kwanda Mngonyama, Fagrie Lakay and Zulu.
Letsholonyane, who was left out of the squad that faced Sudan and Nigeria, is enjoying working with Mashaba.
“Coaches are not the same, and yes Shakes is different from all the other coaches I have played under and he is bringing a positive attitude in the national team. What I saw is a new energy, the youngsters are buzzing and motivated to represent their country and I am happy with what I saw so far,” added Letsholonyane.
He is well aware of the task at hand when they get to Pointe Noire.
“The challenge is that we are not playing at home, so we have to deal with their fans. But at the end of the day we are gong to play football, and that is the same the world over even though the conditions may not be the same. We know it won’t be easy because Congo is not a walkover. They have shown they are a good team with their past results. That they are playing at home should not be an excuse, we will try and win the game,” concluded Letsholonyane.
South Africa will play Congo Saturday, 11 October.
Kickoff is at 16h30 (SA time).
The reverse leg will be played on Wednesday, 15 October at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Kicoff is at 20h05.