The Clever Boys’ have three defenders who are South Africa national team regulars

Bidvest Wits defender Buhle Mkhwanazi feels his club’s group stage participation in the Caf Confederation Cup will help the South African national team.

Already, Mkhwanazi together with his Wits teammate and Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo are a regular central defensive pairing for the national team and played at the Africa Cup of Nations finals earlier this year.

Wits left-back Sifiso Hlanti is also a starter for Bafana.

With the Clever Boys making a maiden Caf Confederation Cup group stage campaign this season, Mkhwanazi feels the tournament will earn players much-needed experience for international football.

“Yes, you need to have players playing continental club tournaments to have a strong national team,” Mkhwanazi was quoted as saying by Sowetan Live.

“Playing the Confed Cup is very important to us as Wits, but more than anything it will toughen us up as individuals.

“Playing in Africa is nice, it’s competitive. It’s not easy, though, but as a player you know that you need such games to improve your level, so that you can see how far you can go in terms of your ability and your overall career.”

Wits goalkeeper Ricardo Goss was recently invited for Bafana camps and is regarded as a future national team prospect.

While comparing the Confederation Cup to the Premier Soccer League (PSL), Mkhwanazi has noted the physical demands of continental football.

“It’s very different from our league [PSL]. Our league isn’t that physical, so going into this type of tournament you need to change your mentality and the whole concept… the approach changes,” he said.

“[Playing in the Caf competitions] is a great opportunity for any player. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to be part of this journey.”

After kicking off their Confederation Cup Group C campaign with a 0-0 draw against Guinean side Horoya last weekend, Wits now travel to Djoliba of Mali for their second pool game on Sunday.

Michael Madyira