DURBAN – The coronavirus denied Lamontville Golden Arrows defender, Gladwin Shitolo, an opportunity to don the Bafana Bafana jersey for the first time in his football career but he is not deflated.
Shitolo subscribes to the notion that in life everything happens for a reason. Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki drafted Shitolo into the Bafana squad that was going to play Sao Tome and Principe in back to back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
But the qualifiers have been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In an interview with Independent Media, Shitolo made it clear that he was not deflated by the cancellation of the qualifiers.
“I’ve reached a point in life where I believe that everything happens for a reason. Yes, I was looking forward to the camp but there’s nothing I can do. All you can do is to accept.
“It’s something that I’ve been praying for. It is a great feeling to be recognised by the national selectors,” Shitolo explained.
The last time Shitolo received a Bafana call-up was in 2014 under the tutelage of Gordon Igesund for the Cosafa Cup but he never got to don the national team jersey. It took him six years to receive another call-up.
“I never gave up. I remember when there was a crossover night at our church – we always have crossover night on the 31st of December and our spiritual father declared and said the waiting is over. I didn’t know what I was waiting for but I believe in those words,” he added. Shitolo has been colossal for Abafana Bes’thende at the back this season.
“I wasn’t surprised about my Bafana Bafana call-up. You know when you are praying with faith and you are expecting something to happen. I was expecting the call-up. I wasn’t surprised but I was emotional about how God has been. I’ve given my career to God.
“The ability that I have is from him. It humbles me to see God working in my life. It motivates me to be a good human being no matter what,” Shitolo elaborated.
The diminutive defender who can also operate as a defensive midfielder has been through many challenges in life.
He suffered relegation twice with Jomo Cosmos and failed to command a regular starting berth in his time with Orlando Pirates.
“It is very important to have a coach in life. It is important to have somebody that motivates you. Even when you do go through those seasons where you are not playing or if you go through something that you think it is impossible to change, at least you know that you have someone that can give you strength,” Shitolo, who has a desire to be a pastor one day, explained.
Shitolo doesn’t live a flashy lifestyle like many of his peers. He says he doesn’t drink and doesn’t smoke.
“My lifestyle goes back to my background. My mother taught me church while I was very young. She always took me to church and I’ve always seen things happening to her while I was young. I followed my mom’s path,” he said.