Eric Tinkler backs Tebogo Tlolane for Bafana call-up

19 February 2020 - 06:00 By SAZI HADEBE
Eric Tinkler says Tebogo Tlolane has what it takes to compete at international level.
Eric Tinkler says Tebogo Tlolane has what it takes to compete at international level.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki should consider Tebogo Tlolane for the national team, says Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler.

Tebogo Tlolane is such a good prospect that Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki should consider looking at him in one of the national team's fixtures this year.

So says his coach at Maritzburg United, Eric Tinkler.

“To be honest, he should be getting into the national team because he has that ability. And so far I think he’s given us a couple of assists already,” said Tinkler of the left-footed player they got on a six-month loan from Orlando Pirates in January.

Tlolane can play as left-back but he’s also effective as an attacking winger, a position Tinkler has preferred to deploy him to at Maritzburg.

The 25-year-old has been effective in the five games he’s played for the Team of Choice, providing his second assist when Maritzburg stunned Absa Premiership log leaders Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The other assist came when Maritzburg beat Stellenbosch FC to book their spot in the Nedbank Cup last 16, where they’ll meet Bloemfontein Celtic in Free State on Saturday.

“He’s been very, very effective for us and he’s been a good signing. He’s made a great impact," said Tinkler.

The coach's relationship with Tlolane started at Chippa United, where he had a brief spell before moving to help Maritzburg escape relegation last season.

“Obviously it helps if he’s a player you worked with before,” said Tinkler. “I managed to work with him at Chippa and his work ethic is extremely good, both in training and in the game.

“That’s obviously what we’re trying to instil in our players and the work ethic is first and foremost. He obviously brings that - and then his creativity, which was something we lacked. So the fact that I knew his qualities obviously helped.”

Tinkler knew that Tlolane had lacked game time at Pirates, where he only played nine minutes in Bucs’ 0-0 league draw against AmaZulu FC in August.

“The last couple of games he’s obviously cramped towards the end, which is normal and which shows you that he didn’t get much game time at Orlando Pirates. But he’ll only get better and better I think, the more he plays. I think he’s one of the young players for the future.”

Tlolane played 29 league matches at Chippa last season, scoring three goals, including one against Maritzburg in January 2019, when the Chilli Boys won 2-0 in Port Elizabeth.