This week, two such players came to mind as they put in a shift so fine it would be a crime to overlook. At the Harry Gwala Stadium, captain Kurt Lentjies scored a stunning free-kick to win the game for Maritzburg United against title-chasing Cape Town City, while Granwald Scott made his second successive start for Bidvest Wits, after being on the sidelines injured for a month, in the 1-0 victory over fellow title-chasers Mamelodi Sundowns.
Scott played on the edge, being a little naughty with his tackles as he sat deep to try and cut the supply to Percy Tau and Khama Billiat, who usually make the Brazilians tick upfront. As a result, the former Ajax Cape Town skipper will miss Thursday’s league clash against Orlando Pirates at Bidvest Stadium.
Lentjies and Scott, both midfielders, began their career with clubs from Cape Town more than a decade ago - the Maritzburg skipper getting his opportunity at FC Fortune, while “Scotty” broke into the Ajax first team as a 17-year-old.
It’s Lentjies who’s been in the spotlight a bit more because of stints, albeit unsuccessful, at Sundowns and SuperSport United.
He didn’t quite make the most of it, but he’d probably argue he wasn’t given enough of a chance. The quality has always been there, and his performance season after season at Maritzburg is evidence enough.
Scott’s been too loyal perhaps, admitting to this columnist about a month ago that he felt he should have tried to push for a move abroad when he was a lot younger. He’s 29 now and it was only early last year that he moved to Slovakia to taste the life of European football, but he returned when it got a bit lonely and Gavin Hunt made him an offer he couldn’t refuse when he signed for Wits in January.
Lentjies has not been abroad, and at 32, it would be near-impossible to secure a move there even if he tried. But he’s probably had an offer or two, but possibly not attractive enough to leave these shores.
Scott said he took his chance in Slovakia not only because he wanted to feel what it was like to play abroad before he retires, but also because he was a bit down on his luck at Ajax at the time when Roger de Sa was coach, despite being the club’s Footballer of the Year a season or so before, as well as the captain.
This is a bit of a thankless job when you are underrated. However, at Maritzburg and now at Wits, both Lentjies and Scott have coaches who believe in them and their value. Lentjies might never lift a league title, although he’s played for teams with the ambition and financial muscle to do so in the past, but Scott is well-placed with the Clever Boys this season having missed out three times - under three different coaches in Craig Rosslee, Gordon Igesund and Foppe de Haan - at Ajax.
Maybe fourth time is a charm, and he is banking on it given Hunt’s pedigree as a three-time Premier League winner with SuperSport in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Now is your time “Scotty”.