Knowing your Under-23 stars – Part III
Posted: 27 November 2015 Time: 18:20
In the third part of the series, we profile five more Under-23 stars that will be doing duty for South Africa in Senegal this weekend.
Mobara is an ever-present in the Urban Warriors side, having missed just one of Ajax’s 14 matches in all competitions thus far this season. He featured prominently in his club’s MTN8 victory, helping the cape side keep clean sheets against Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs. Regarded as the “best centre-back in South Africa” by defensive partner and Bafana Bafana centre-back Rivaldo Coetzee, Mobara has been selected as a midfielder for the Under-23 team, an indication of his versatility. “Mobara, for me personally, is good enough for the senior team,” Ajax coach Roger De Sa tells Kickoff.com. “He’s very versatile, and such a good player to have - a phenomenal footballer. He can play about anywhere on the field.”
Experience is what is needed when it comes to tournaments and with 28 games out of 30 played last season for Cape Town All Stars, Peters has that at a young age. Peters could be the favourite to don the number one jersey for the SA Under-23s in Senegal as he has started more games (11) this season than the other two keepers that got selected by coach Owen da Dama. Jody February of Ajax Cape Town only played two games and Ricardo Goss of Golden Arrows one game. The 22-year-old has also been one of the key players this season for All Stars, who are currently third in the NFD.
Chippa United defender Macheke will want to use the Under-23 Nations Cup and Olympic qualifiers to prove his worth. The 21-year-old was in the Kaizer Chiefs team that won the League last season and received a winners’ medal despite not playing a single match. This season he joined Chippa United and despite a mere two appearances against Platinum Stars and Free State Stars, the player has yet to establish himself as a regular in Chillie Boys defence. The Meadowlands-born joined Kaizer Chiefs youth development five years ago and was a member of Owen da Gama that played Zimbabwe in the earlier round of the tournament qualifiers.
Rikhotso joined Bloemfontein Celtic in in February this year from ABC Motsepe League side Roses United to fulfil his dream of playing topflight football. In his first few months at the club, the 22-year-old started four League matches and this season he played more regular football. Born in February 1993 in Limpopo, Rikhotso came through the Bloemfontein Celtic development ranks and later played for Vasco da Gama before moving to Roses United. On his return to Phunya Sele Sele, the player was rewarded with a four contract and will be hoping to use the Under-23 tournament to catch the eye of senior national team Shakes Mashaba.
Bidvest Wits defender Ntshangase will be hoping to celebrate his 21st birthday on Christmas Eve with a ticket to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil in his hand. Ntshangase is one of the PSL players in Owen da Gama’s squad that will be hoping to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2000.
Ntshangase started his career as a defender but made his professional debut for Wits against his home team AmaZulu as a central midfielder in February 2014. In the same match, he won the man of the match award. The ironman finished the season with 16 matches under his belt but it was the following season where everyone took notice including national coach Shakes Mashaba. During the 2015/16 season Ntshangase was a mainstay in the Wits team and started 31 games in all competitions.
The player was rewarded for his performances by being crowned the Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season, beating his national Under-23 teammates Rivaldo Coetzee and Abbubaker Mobara.