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KZN Academy director Carlos Catalino says Benfica are excited by South African midfielder Thabo Cele

Posted: 6 September 2017 Time: 16:30

Benfica's Thabo Cele is highly rated by the Portuguese giants and considered a rare talent, according to KZN Academy director Carlos Catalino.

The KZN Academy graduate joined the Primeira Liga champions in March on a five-year deal after impressing in a season spent with third-tier side Sporting Clube De Massana.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who represented Bafana Bafana at the the COSAFA Castle Cup in June and Amajita at the 2017 U-20 World Cup in Korea, is currently campaigning in Benfica's reserve team.

"According to my sources at Benfica they reckon there's only two players in the whole of Portugal that play the style of Thabo Cele," Catalino told KickOff.com.

"One is the first team player called 'Pizzi' [Luis Miguel Afonso Fernandes] and they believe Thabo is the next player who can play in that style by keep going forward, looking for opportunities and not being scared to make certain passes that actually destroy the back-line and create opportunities.

"And they say you don't find it, it's not something that you can teach someone, it's natural in them. So they are very excited, I can tell you that much.

"From the technical team that I've spoken to this is what they were telling us and that is why they signed him, because he's got that specific thing that they were looking for. So they see him as a long-term [option] the club and they won't release him on anything short. They want to work with him."

Catalino added that Cele will continue in the reserve team but could be loaned out in December to secure game-time at a higher level.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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