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Etafia Rewarded With National Team Call-Up 12/08/05
Moroka Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia is hoping to cement his place in the Nigerian national team following his call-up to the Super Eagles side to face Libya in an international friendly.

The giant shot stopper, who has five caps to his name, last represented his country when they lost to Bafana Bafana in the Mandela challenge.

"It's great to be back in the squad. I must thank the Birds management, the coaches, especially Gavin Hunt and the team's directors for their understanding and for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talents at Swallows," he said.

"The Nigerian selectors keep a constant eye on me and it is great to be able to play for a professional team like Swallows, where I can really fulfill my full potential,"  Etafia added.

Etafia also mentioned that he was very upset at being red-carded in the team's first game of the season.

"I am very unhappy about that, my heart is sore as it is really the worst timing to be sent off in the very first game, but I have some consolation in that I will at least be getting some match practice with the Nigerian side."

At present Nigeria are battling it out with Angola for the right to play at the 2006 World Cup in Germany (both teams have 15 points from eight games).

Etafia is confident that his country will emerge victorious from qualifying Group Four.

"We will have to work hard, show a lot of dedication and also do some praying, but I am sure we will be in Germany next year, and I hope to be part of the team," said the player.

Etafia has to compete week-in week-out with another top class keeper at Swallows, Conrad Hendricks, but he says there are no hard feelings between the two of them, in fact it is the opposite as they work together to improve their respective games.

"Being at Swallows is great. There are so many good players that one always has to fight for one's place in the team, which ensures that we stay at the top of our game. Conrad and I are actually best friends - we have been together now for three years and we do everything together and share many things," he said.

Another Swallows player, defender Peter Petersen, has also been honoured with a national team call-up - the Cape-born player has been included in the Bafana Bafana side to face Zambia in the Cosafa Cup.

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