Europa League beckons for Mashamaite

Mashamaite & his Swedish club BK Hacken are on the cusp of playing in next year’s Europa League.

FILE: Kaizer Chiefs captain Tefu Mashamaite at media briefing with Orlando Pirates ahead of the Soweto derby clash on 7 March 2015: Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Kaizer Chiefs captain Tefu Mashamaite is set to write his name in the South African histoy books by taking part in a European tournament next season.

Mashamaite and his Swedish club, BK Hacken, are on the cusp of playing in next year's Europa League, after winning the Swedish Cup on 5 May.

The Swedish Cup, or Svenska Cupen, is the equivalent of the South African Nedbank Cup, a competition open to 32 teams from two leagues all vying for the top prize.

Mashamaite's success runs deep, this is the first time Hacken have ever won this cup in their history and they beat outright favourites Malmo FF, to the honours.

The 31-year-old former Premier Soccer League Player of the Year says that his career elevated to new heights now.

"It's about shifting the goal posts and saying I've played in South Africa, I've played in the Caf Champions League, can I go further? It's a great feeling and it's something I look forward to, the experience, the build-up and being involved in the competition"

This is "Masha's" fifth trophy in three years, he picked up the PSL title and Nedbank Cup in 2013, the MTN 8 and PSL title in 2015 (all with coach Stuart Baxter) and now his first piece of silverware in Europe.

He says although his football has gotten better and his career has received a major boost, he doesn't think he's any better than South African players.

"Playing in Sweden is not about saying that I'm playing in a better league than South Africa, it was just about experience. I wanted to get away from the South African landscape and experience football from a different perspective."

Mashamaite's respect for South African football is evident in his desire to represent Bafana Bafana.

Surprisingly, despite cleaning up at last season's PSL Awards, coach Shakes Mashaba has not used the former Wits skipper in his 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, a decision Mashamaite says rests squarely with the coach.

"It's not entirely up to me, I can just state my intentions but the final call comes from him (Shakes Mashaba). So it's up to him to say "we're gonna give you a nod" or not"

Mashamaite is currently nursing an injury and is hoping to get back into action soon, to help his side rejuvenate their league campaign, as they linger dangerously above the relegation zone, with just under 10 games already played this season.