Fast forward to eight years since he took the plunge and Sibiya is the toast of Abafana Bes’thende’s reserve outfit that will be touring Spain next week thanks to their winning the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) again.
Sibiya has been a key player for the Arrows team in the last three years and it was his goals that saw the Durban outfit win the competition twice, this year and two seasons ago.
That he is now celebrated is thanks to his uncle Ngono Sibiya who taught him to shut out what the rest of their community was saying.
“When you grow up in a township, especially where a lot of people didn’t succeed, they always speak of how you will never make it in life," Sibiya said. "I also experienced that because most people said I won’t make it . Somehow I also believed that .”
Enter uncle Ngono and young Sibiya’s outlook changed for the better. “He encouraged me to join the club,” Sibiya said.
“He instructed me to not waste the money he was paying for my transport to training sessions.”
There was also extra support at home. Grandma Thandi Moli believed he inherited the football genes from his grandfather Special Sithole who played for AmaZulu in the 1980s. And true to granny’s words, Sibiya has proven to be the real deal.
After an impressive first campaign with the MDC team, Sibiya was promoted to the first team and took the PSL by storm as he made 30 appearances and even won the Nedbank Cup Young Player of the Tournament award.
“It gave me so much joy to finally play for my hometown team as that was always my childhood dream. The award motivated me to continue working hard so I could win other awards,’’ he gushed.
His second season in the elite league has been hindered by injuries which saw him more with the reserve team as he worked his way back to full-fitness.
The 22-year-old made great use of his time in the MDC. He scored four goals in five games, the most important of those being the brace against Orlando Pirates which helped Arrows win this year’s title.
“Those goals meant a lot to me because no other player has done what I did (scoring Diski title winning goals in two different seasons). This means I have to continue doing more. I’d like to help the senior team climb up the log standings.”
Before he can do that though, Sibiya has to go test his skills against the reserve teams of Spain’s finest next week. To think they’d said he won’t make it.