By Thathe Msimango
Former Ajax Cape Town midfielder Clifford Ngobeni believes Siyabonga Mabena stands to dominate the game in the future.
On Tuesday night, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena handed a 16-year-old Mabena a Premier Soccer League (PSL) debut in a match against Royal AM.
Ngobeni first tasted PSL football back in 2003 at the age of 14 in a match Ajax beat Supersport at Newlands Stadium under the reigns of Gordon Igesund.
He still holds a record of being the youngest debutant in the league.
“It is a feeling you can’t explain or describe to anyone. I remember when I was told that I’m going to play my first match in PSL I couldn’t believe it,” explains Ngobeni
“Luckily, I was so calm because I knew a day before the match that I’m going to play. The players too were supportive and guided me not to be so nervous.”
The 35-year-old Soweto born man thinks Mabena can be a future star only if he is given adequate opportunity.
“I think Mabena is a real gem. Remember, he is coming under good structure there( School of Excellence). They know how to groom players there so no doubt he is going to shine in the future,” explains former Orlando Pirates star
“The only problem in South Africa, young players are not given enough time to express their talent. We have problems with coaches who don’t believe in development but overall he is a good player. I expect him to achieve good things in life.”
Ngobeni is currently coaching young kids in his hometown Soweto and is a SAGA level C coaching certificate holder.
Picture above: Clifford Ngobeni