close
close

Mofokeng compared to Pele and Iniesta after Bafana call-up

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 22: Relebohile Mofokeng of Orlando Pirates and Lucas Moripe during the the 2024 Premiers Social Cohesion Games gala and awards dinner at Hiton Sandton on March 22, 2024 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – MARCH 22: Relebohile Mofokeng of Orlando Pirates and Lucas Moripe during the the 2024 Premiers Social Cohesion Games gala and awards dinner at Hiton Sandton on March 22, 2024 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Former Bafana Bafana international Benson Mhlongo applauds coach Hugo Broos for including young Relebohile Mofokeng in his 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers preliminary squad.

South Africa will face Nigeria on 7 June in Uyo, and Zimbabwe on 11 June in the City of Roses.

This is 19-year-old Mofokeng’s first-ever national team call-up, following his great performances for Orlando Pirates, where he has found the back of the net found times from a wing position, as well as provided seven assists.

All of this in 37 matches in all competitions.

READ: Gallants receive R14m from CAF, players not paid? Chairman responds

Mhlongo says it is a well-deserved token of recognition. 

“The likes of Pele started playing at the World Cup at the age of 16, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t give the young man a chance. Was Pele ready for the World Cup at the age of 16? So ,with Mofokeng, we can only have an answer once we see him play.

“In football, you can’t predict or assume anything. But we can only accept the young boy not to make it at the first time, but we must give him a try.

“If he goes in and does wonders, then he would have answered everyone. It’s the same with Lyle Forster, he didn’t play even five games for the Pirates’ first team, but he went on to play for the national team at a young age,” says Mhlongo.

The Alexandra-born legend says he does not see the Bucs winger struggling if he were to be thrown in the deep end in either, or both, of the crucial World Cup qualifiers. 

“Because of the type of football he is playing, I don’t see Mofokeng struggling in the national team. He doesn’t allow an opponent to play a contact game, he is quick in his decision-making, and he has quick vision to spot runners. He creates, he is not selfish.” 

He goes on to compare the former Pirates DStv Challenge team star to a Barcelona legend who saw and did it all on the pitch.

“He reminds me of Iniesta. I know because I played against him. Iniesta is very small, but you can’t take the ball away from him, and he doesn’t play a contact sport.

“Mofokeng is smart in finding spaces, and also a good passer. I don’t see him struggling.”

Delving into the rest of the selection of the preliminary squad, the man nicknamed ‘Mayanga’ has some reservations.  

“When it comes to the defenders selected, it’s questionable, but what can we say? Innocent Maela didn’t play much in the second round. Maybe it’s because the coach (Hugo Broos) knows what he can bring to the table.

“I think it’s a nice mixture of young and experienced players. We nearly had a problem with the (Mamelodi) Sundowns players where their coach (Rulani Mokwena) complained that they were overused.

READ: Al Ahly ‘decide’ Percy Tau’s fate

“I think he is building around the AFCON squad so that we cannot rely only on one team to select players.”

You must be SIGNED IN to read and post comments.

Click HERE to register!

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *