Sibisi hits the target for Arrows with hard work
But before he became one of the cogs in the Arrows line-up, where he’s made 24 appearances this season, Sibisi's career had humble beginnings in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge.
Sibisi spent three seasons in the reserve league, inspiring the young Abafana Bes’thende to two championships, which included trips to the Netherlands and Spain, where he watched Real Madrid demolish Girona 6-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Inclusive of the international tours were training sessions spearheaded by several renowned academy coaches in those countries. Such lessons came in handy for Sibisi, who made his breakthrough in the first team after his Spain trip.
But this is the season that Sibisi says he’s enjoying his football - having missed only three matches for Arrows in the league, while further inspiring the team to the Telkom Knockout semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
But Sibisi, like any other player who’s had to do it the hard way, will tell you it wasn’t easy. His peers, who were probably more talented, put their eyes off the prize; as a result they’ve fallen along the way.
“Being disciplined and knowing what you want out of the game has been key to my progress. As much as we play football for the love of the game, there are people that depend on our hard work in order for their lives to change,” Sibisi explained.
“It wasn’t easy but sometimes perseverance helps. And it’s unfortunate that not all of us can hang on because others are quick to give up. But I had a plan and knew what I wanted. So, playing in the Diski also helped a lot.”
It was last season that Sibisi rose to prominence in the Arrows green and yellow shirt, making 31 domestic appearances under Clinton Larsen, who gave him his first team debut, and current coach Steve Komphela.
The latter is a renowned advocate of positivity and a breath of fresh air to his players, always looking at moulding a person before anything. For Sibisi who’s hoping to mature as a centre-back, the former Bafana Bafana captain became an all-rounder in his progress.
“Having someone as coach Steve generates a lot of positivity. Since he also played the same position that I am playing, he helps me a lot. But not to just mention him alone, my academy coaches, which include coach Kanu (Vusumuzi Vilakazi), helped me a lot."
The next box Sibisi wants to tick in his wish list is playing for Bafana. He won’t have to think he’s at the wrong club to achieve that or look for motivation elsewhere - especially after a teammate recently achieved the improbable.
Sibisi’s central defensive partner Gladwin Shitolo was called up for the national team’s back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe last month. However the qualifiers were postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a big motivation for us to see Shitolo called up to the national team. It’s been long since someone from the club played for the national team. I was happy for him but it’s unfortunate the games had to be postponed,” said Sibisi.