South Africa's Lakay excited to face France's Mbappe: He is 'one of the top players in the world'
Mamelodi Sundowns left-back Lyle Lakay is hoping to get the chance to play for Bafana Bafana against France in the March 29 international friendly match.
Bafana clash against the reigning world champions in Lille after playing Guinea in Belgium four days earlier.
Cape Town City’s Terrence Mashego is Lakay’s direct challenger for the left-back position as they face Les Bleus who have the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema in their side.
“If I do make it, I’ll be happy, you know, if not, that’s not the end of the world. I’ll just continue working hard,” Lakay told the Sundowns media department.
“People will talk and say ‘No, that’s people that we watch on TV on the European stage, you know, in the Champions League’, Mbappe is one of the top players in the world right now.
“Then you got to Benzema and Griezmann and those guys. But for me, personally, I’ll take this as something you tell yourself, you can test yourself against the best in the world.
“Obviously their level, people will tell you, it’s higher than our level, but at the end of the day, you get to test yourself against the best in the world.
“[It] is something you know, everybody wants to do. You want to see where you stand, you want to compete against the best, obviously, to see how far you can go.”
Lakay is in the Bafana fold for the first time under coach Hugo Broos after being ignored since the Belgian was appointed South Africa coach in May 2021.
Mashego has been the preferred left-back, while once right-back Nyiko Mobbie played on the left side of the defence.
Lakay feels playing against Africa’s best team in the Caf Champions League has handed him experience.
“Beating Al Ahly was a big achievement for us [Sundowns]. I don’t know when a team last beat Al Ahly home and away,” said Lakay.
“Playing in the Champions League, you get experience because you are playing on the continent. For example, Al Ahly have about eight players in the Egypt national team who played recently in the Afcon final.
“Obviously you have that experience of playing on the continent which you can take into the national team. Going to into the national team obviously, we are going to play against European opposition in France which will help us because they are not the same people we play on the continent.
“It will help us in terms of experience. The camp itself will be a good experience not only for me but for all of us because of the competition. The teams we are playing against play at a high level. I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure the players are also looking forward to it.”
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Broos called up other Sundowns players like Khuliso Mudau, Rushine De Reuck, Teboho Mokoena and Mothobio Mvala who have been playing Champions League football.
AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa and Pyramids’ Fagrie Lakay have also been playing at that level while Orlando Pirates’ Thabang Monare, Bandile Shandu and Goodman Mosele participate in the Caf Confederation Cup.