JOHANNESBURG – After being the only Amajita player to be voted into the African Youth Championships Best XI in Niger, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo says he wouldn’t have done it without the support of his teammates and coaches.
The South Africans finished third in the competition and automatically qualified for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in May in Poland.
“Going to Niger, I had told myself that we’ll be going there as a team,” Ngcobo said on the squad’s return yesterday.
“I wanted to help the team accomplish the goal of qualifying for the World Cup, and I am happy that we did.”
In the continental showpiece, Amajita were in Group A with hosts Niger, seven-time champions Nigeria and underdogs Burundi, and finished runners-up to the Flying Eagles. They won once, drew twice and lost once.
“It motivates me that I’m the only player in the Caf Best XI, but I’d like to thank everyone because it was from the help of my teammates and the technical team,” Ngcobo said.
“So, me being there, I think it was because my teammates supported me and we worked as a team.”
Ngcobo, 19, might be the captain of the Kaizer Chiefs reserve team, but after his impressive performances in Niger, he’ll be hoping to get a run in the senior team.
Coach Ernst Middendorp has already proven that he’s an admirer of young guns, and Ngcobo’s debut could be imminent considering Middendorp called him up for the Caf Confederations Cup qualifiers late last year.
“Coach Middendorp regularly tells me to remain focused and continue to work hard,” Ngcobo said.
“He tells me that my time to play for the team will come. It motivates me to see other young players play, but it’s not easy to break through because there are other very good and experienced players in the team.
“We just have to keep working hard and listen to the coaches.”
Ngcobo also said that their impressive performances were meant to honour former club and national Under-20 teammate Wiseman Meyiwa, who was rendered a paraplegic after a car crash last year.