Cape Town City’s Thabo Nodada is rapidly developing into one of the brightest lights in the PSL.
On Tuesday night, the ebullient midfielder was again the beating heart of the team as the Citizens defeated a plucky Polokwane City 2-1 in a league fixture at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Coach Benni McCarthy’s plan to use veteran Teko Modise and Austrian Roland Putsche as defensive shields in front of the back-four, allowing the dynamic Nodada a free role in midfield, worked brilliantly.
The 23-year-old covered acres of ground, up and down the field, as he inspired the Cape side to victory.
It was performances such as these that resulted in Nodada receiving a call-up to the Bafana Bafana squad against Seychelles last month.
He is continuing in the same fashion and, no doubt in future, it will be very difficult for any national coach to ignore his selection claims.
In the build-up to the fixture, City admitted they were expecting a really tough outing against a hard-running, committed Polokwane side.
And true to expectations, that is exactly what the Capetonians got. Even though they went behind early on, Polokwane never let their heads drop.
They kept fighting, they kept running, and each of every member of the team continued to grind away.
City started the game in good fashion, impressing with their usual pass and move football.
And with Nodada calling the shots, it was on yet another of his darting runs that he was able to find space down the left flank and cut back a cross for Ayanda Patosi to give City the lead in the seventh minute.
Despite having to play second fiddle in the early stages, Polokwane got stronger as the first half progressed.
Striker Rodney Ramagalela proved a troublesome presence, and Vusimuzi Mngomezulu was desperately unlucky when, after a superb first touch inside the penalty area, he could only flash his shot wide of goal.
Polokwane were also unfortunate not to score five minutes before halftime when Salulani Phiri’s effort from outside the box looked destined for the top corner of the net, only for City’s Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburg to produce a wonderful, acrobatic save to palm the ball away.
For City, because of the threat posed by Polokwane, a second goal was always going to be crucial.
And in the 58th minute, that was what they got – and again, that man Nodada was involved.
A run and cross from Thami Mkhize found Nodada in the penalty area, but his shot at goal was parried by Polokwane goalkeeper Harold Ndlovu, and it left Siphelele Mthembu with a simple tap-in to give the Capetonians a 2-0 lead.
Thabo Nodada Man of the Match🎖️— Cape Town City FC (@CapeTownCityFC) November 27, 2018
Well done Boi 😊👌 pic.twitter.com/bsS8n63YGu
The task was seemingly made more comfortable 10 minutes later when Polokwane’s captain Jabu Maluleke was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.
But easy it wasn’t going to be for the Capetonians – because the Limpopo side’s 10 men came storming back in the closing stages.
They pulled a goal back when substitute Mohamed Anas converted a penalty, and they then piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
But City managed to hang on, and they would have breathed a huge sigh of relief when referee Victor Gomes blew the final whistle.