Long serving Zebras midfielder Mogogi Gabonamong is set to make a return to the national team setup after almost a year away from the international scene. The Supersport United player is likely to feature in tonight’s (Tuesday) international friendly against Malawi to prepare for the crucial clash against South Africa during the weekend.
Gabonamong’s last appearance for the side was in October last year during the 2013 AFCON Qualifier against Mali. He featured in the 4-1 defeat against the West Africans as the Zebras lost out on making a second successive AFCON appearance.
On Sunday the experienced player reported for camp duty after 10 months of being away from the side. He joined the side along with other South African based players. In recent months players such as Dirang Moloi and Phenyo Mongala also returned from a ‘self imposed exile’ phase to bolster the national team, and Gabonamong has followed suit by making a surprise return.
Reports circulated that the tough tackling midfielder had decided to retire from the national team since he had not been available for numerous games since last year. However, this publication is reliably informed that he held private talks with the national team coach to allow him to deal with his private matters before making a return once he was ready to do so.
When reached for comment the Zebras coach, Stanley Tshosane, told Gazette Sport that the player had never mentioned retirement during their talks. “He never said he had retired from the national team, he just told me that he needed time to attend to his personal matters and guaranteed that he would return for future call ups,” said Tshosane.
The Matsatsantsa star also told this reporter that he is excited to make his eagerly awaited return to Tshosane’s side. “I am returning to the team, I have always opened the door for a return to represent my country. Now we have to concentrate on the game against Bafana and ensure that we put on a brave display in Durban. They are tough to beat but a win is possible if we double our efforts on match-day,” stated Gabonamong.
The former Township Rollers midfielder’s rumored retirement has dominated the sports pages in the past week but Tshosane revealed that Gabonamong received a call up for the Bafana game and he never doubted the midfielder’s promise to return to national team action.
Mogogi’s return will boost Zebras as they aim to claim a win at the Moses Mabhida Stadium; his seven years of experience in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) could help in terms of giving his teammates insights on the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents.