Mokoena's chance to jump to Europe
It was from the MultiChoice Diski Challenge that teenage sensation Mokoena burst onto the scene. The Bethlehem-born footballer made his SuperSport senior debut during the 2016/2017 season under the tutelage of Stuart Baxter.
He made 111 top-flight appearances for Matsatsantsa a Pitori in all competitions, and contributed with seven goals and 11 assists.
According to Matthews, the youth product has enough potential to fill in the void left by Furman, who recently returned to the UK to reunite with his family - having captained the team to seven finals and lifted four trophies after joining the Tshwane side five years ago.
“Tebza now has an opportunity to fill Dean’s shoes. He’s got an opportunity to become a leader and general in the midfield. He’s only 23 but it’s a massive opportunity for him,” Matthews said.
“If he grabs it with both hands, that will be his springboard to Europe. We think that Tebza will follow Bongani Zungu and Percy Tau (who joined Amiens SC and Club Brugge in France and Belgium respectively following impressive outings for Mamelodi Sundowns).”
He continued: “With one big season, showing what he can do as the general, and trying to find consistency, that will be his ticket to Europe. He needs to find the consistency that Dean had - and he’ll find himself in Europe.”
Mokoena won the PSL Young Player of the Season award last term and inspired the South Africa Under-23 team to qualify for the postponed Tokyo Olympics Games.
According to Matthews, the 34-year-old Furman was specifically assigned to mould the club's youth.
“When we sat down with Stuart Baxter, he made it clear that he wanted to have a core group of experienced players around him. With introducing youngsters, it was already something that we had started to do (before his arrival),” Matthews said.
“When we signed Yeye (Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who left the club last season) from Kaizer Chiefs, I was very clear that he would add value to our youth and MDC team - where Sipho Mbule, Jamie Webber and Mokoena were plying their trade at the time.”
Matthews added: “He did add value and teach the youngsters some good stuff. So, it has always been about succession planning.”