Young buck Jabulani Mokone shines brightest on Carling All-Star stage

Jabulani Mokone of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Diski Challenge 2022/23 match between Orlando Pirates and Marumo Gallants FC

Pirates right back Jabulani Mokone (pictured), 18, and Chiefs midfielder Mfundo Vilakazi, 17, rose to the occasion and shone brightest in what was a good performance by the cubs. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Jan 8, 2024


The head coaches of Stellenbosch FC and Orlando Pirates have tipped their hats to the youngsters who featured in the Carling All-Star exhibition match.

As the winners of the Carling Knockout Cup, Stellies ran out against a Carling All-Star XI side voted for by supporters and composed of players from the other 15 teams in the DStv Premiership.

Jose Riveiro’s 23-man All-Star squad was also made up of 10 DStv Diski Challenge (DDC) players from Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu, with five of them featuring in the starting line-up.

Pirates right back Jabulani Mokone, 18, and Chiefs midfielder Mfundo “Obrigado” Vilakazi, 17, rose to the occasion and shone brightest in what was a good performance by the cubs.

Young guns strut their stuff

Stellenbosch possess one of the best academy programmes in the country and it showed in their make-up in this one-off match as the club’s young guns formed their armoury on the day.

Stellies might have conceded two early goals, one of which was a free-kick by Vilakazi in the third minute, but coach Steve Barker wasn’t surprised by the level at which the AllStar youngsters played.

“I wasn’t surprised by the quality of the DDC players,” he said after the match that the All Stars won 2-1. “Our starting XI had five players that can still play DDC

“I’m not surprised that there’s that level of talent so to see a 16 (or) 17-year-old get an opportunity to showcase their talent, and they certainly showed their talent, it’s a huge credit to them. I hope they have great futures and this isn’t just a once-off opportunity for them.”

Riveiro was also impressed by what he saw in the two training sessions and the match.

The 46-year-old mentor praised his players’ willingness to prove themselves against some of the country’s best players as well as their bravery at a packed Peter Mokaba Stadium.

“The youngsters gave us a different dynamic in the sense that they wanted to prove that they have the capacity to challenge an exceptional team like Stellenbosch,” he said.

“We played against a really tricky team, a team that is in a really good moment, but they dealt with the danger and when they weren’t concentrating, we were there to help them.

Riveiro worked with four Pirates youngsters in the set-up and had wise words for them and the rest of their counterparts.

“Now they have to show that they can do this every week. They must seek to replicate these kinds of performances. It doesn’t matter when it’s with the All-Star team or their current teams,” he said.