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Platinum Stars striker Ndumiso Mabena got a massive birthday gift on Thursday.

Mabena celebrated his 29th birthday in style after he was included in the Bafana Bafana 23-man squad to do duty for country against Gambia in the Orange CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next month. Dikwena assistant coach Willem Jackson says Mabena’s call up to Shakes Mashaba’s team is deserved.

“He is an outstanding player and he is a good person him. To be called to the national team on his birthday is a blessing. It’s something extra special for him to be called up on his birthday. Not a lot of players are blessed and have the privilege to be called up on their birthdays,” elated Jackson told

Mabena has been in terrific form for Dikwena this season. The forward has netted 10 league goals for the Rustenburg based side, who are third on the Absa Premiership table. Mabena played a pivotal role in helping Dikwena to soar this season. Jackson feels Mabena could have easily be leading all and sundry on the scorers’ list this season.

“Mabena is a hard worker you know. You put him in a game, it’s difficult for defenders to get the ball from him. You can see at training, he also enjoys his football. This season, if it wasn’t for the two red cards that he got, he was going to be a top scorer. We believed in him and leave him one on one with keeper and give him a chance to score, he will make sure he scores. The red cards just dented his chances of being a top scorer. All in all he is a marvelous player. Put him on the field, there’s nothing he wants to do than score and get better and better every day,” said Cavin Johnson’s number two.

Jackson, a former Dikwena captain, has also hailed Mabena’s influence on the team. Jackson says Mabena is worthy to be a role model for youngsters as has also conducts himself in an exemplary manner.

“He is always at training, always on time. He is a good example to the youngsters. He is a leader on and off the field. He is a good example to youngsters. You can see his attitude on football. He always encourages the youngsters that come from our development. He talks to them and also to the senior guys in the team,” said Jackson.

Jackson, who was a member of the Bafana team that represented the country at the 1998 Fifa World Cup in France, believes Mabena can prove himself in Bafana colours provided the striker gets enough time on the pitch. Mabena played 40 minutes in Bafana’s disappointing goalless draw against Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Durban last month.

“If he gets a chance to play, sometimes they put him in second half for 30 minutes. It’s not enough for a player to prove himself. If he gets a chance to start with the team, he can prove a lot of people wrong. He deserves to be in the national team. He has been scoring goals for Stars. He scored marvelous goals. He is really an exciting player. Coming to the national team, I wish them everything of the best. They must just win. We need to go out there and concentrate on winning our two remaining games. Our pride is at stake, we just need to win,” said Jackson.

Mabena and his national team colleagues will play Gambia at the Independent Stadium in Bakau on Saturday June 04, 2016. Before heading to Bafana, Mabena will lead Dikwena’s striker force when Johnson’s men take on champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the final league match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville this coming Saturday at 3pm.

Posted: 19-05-2016
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