Bafana Bafana hopeful Yaniv Segev speaks to KickOff.com about PSL to military & now Europe
Posted: 3 September 2018 Time: 19:30
A promising Israeli youth international midfielder, who remains eligible to play for Bafana Bafana has spoken to KickOff.com about his tempestuous career that was disrupted by conscription - but now on the rise, he could be joining up with his 'close friend' Liam Jordan in Denmark.
Segev, 22, might not be a well-known name within the local football fraternity, but he was once on the books of 2016/17 Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits before his career almost came to a standstill.
Born in Israel to a South African mother hailing from Port Elizabeth, Segev began his career as a seven-year-old within the esteemed development structures of 14-time Israeli Premier League champions Hapoel Tel Aviv.
After seven years at the club, the intelligent midfielder, who's moulded his game on the iconic Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric as a tactically astute number six, capable of dictating the play from deep, realised he could make it as a professional footballer.
"At the age of 17, I knew a had the potential and I went on trial at Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem, [the club of Bafana Bafana midfielder Thulani Serero]," he told KickOff.com "But as a minor the move fell through after failing to gain an EU passport required to sign a professional contract.
"After the minor setback, my then agent of MSC Sport managed to secure training stint with Bidvest Wits, where I impressed coach Gavin Hunt and Glen Salmon.
"I then signed for the first-team after finishing high school in Israel and featured prominently with the BidBoys squad (reserve team)."
However, after just nine months in South Africa, the teenager was forced to return to his country of birth with the compulsory enlistment of national service in the military hanging over his head.
Leaving all his efforts in vain, his contract was rescinded and he returned to Israel, where he then signed for top-flight outfit Maccabi Petah Tikva and to his dismay, he was released from the military service after just two days without reason.
His stint with historic club lasted just one season, not satisfied with picking up a pay cheque and watching from the sidelines as a player determined to make a name for himself despite his tender years.
Spells in the second-tier soon followed where he picked up valuable playing time and now the midfielder is pursuing his dream of playing within the top leagues in Europe.
"I was informed by the interest of HB Koge by my agent Ilan Shaki on the 22nd of August and by the 23rd I was training with the first-team, where I reunited with Liam, who I spent time with during my stint at Wits," the 22-year-old said.
"I don't know where I stand yet as the season is seven games in already, but I'm confident in my abilities to land a contract.
"I've been informed of several Israeli sides interested in my services and a top-flight club in Serbia, but I'm hoping to find out my future here in Denmark within the next few days, if not hours."
Having represented Israel at U18 level and being a part of a solitary Amajita training camp, Segev barely minced his words when pressed where his allegiance lies.
"I'm being honest when I say it doesn't matter which country I'd play for, I just want to play football.
"I'm a serious professional who has ambitions to succeed at the highest level and whichever country selects me, I will play for."