PLEASANT SURPRISE: Dean Furman looks to have a bright future with Bafana Bafana. Picture: Reuters
Three weeks ago, Dean Furman was planning to go away on a holiday with his friends when his cellphone rang.
The 22-year-old midfielder was tracked down by Oldham Athletic, the English League One team he plays for, and told to head to South Africa because Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund wanted him to play against Brazil and Mozambique.
For Furman that call was the start of what appears destined to be a brilliant international career.
Igesund surprised a lot of soccer followers when he picked the midfielder ahead of the likes Reneilwe Letsholonyane and May Mahlangu for the holding midfielder role.
The Cape Town-born player, who moved to England when he was five, also played for Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers in 2006. Furman has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and even picked up the man-of-the-match award in the 2-0 win over Mozambique at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday.
“It is good to play for South Africa but I must say I was shocked when the coach called me to say he had me in his future plans,” said Furman.
“The game against Brazil was much tougher than the Mozambique one because we had only three days to prepare as a team. But I am glad we showed good fighting spirit. That was evident when we outplayed Mozambique and I am glad to be playing for a such a passionate country.”
Furman, who is the skipper of Oldham, seems set to join the list of classy central midfielders such as Eric Tinkler, Linda Buthelezi, John Moeti and Kagisho Dikgacoi who donned the Bafana jersey in the past.
His reading of the game, his timing, his ability to play his way out of defence, his pace and instinct all make his international career look promising.
If the last two games are anything to go by, Furman seems to be a certainty to make the South African squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
Know Dean Furman
Date of birth: June 22, 1988 (age 24)
Place of birth: Cape Town, South Africa
Playing position: Midfielder
Current club: Oldham Athletic
Jersey Number: 8
2003-2006: Chelsea Youth Academy
2006-2008: Rangers Youth Academy (Scotland)
2008 - 2009: Rangers senior team (1 appearance, no goals)
2008 - 2009: Bradford City (England) - on loan from Rangers
2009 - 2012: (currently) Oldham Athletic (93 appearances, 6 goals)
National team: 2 caps for Bafana Bafana - made his debut against Brazil on September 7, 2012