Orlando Pirates' teenage midfielder Augustine Mahlonoko has earned international recognition after being named amongst the top 60 young players in the world.
Mahlonoko has cracked UK publication The Guardian’s ‘Next Generation 2018: 60 of the best young talents in the world’ list, being tipped to reach stardom in the years to come.
The 17-year-old is the only South African to get the nod, and is amongst only five other African youngsters - Parfat Guiagon (Cote d’Ivoire), Musa Jawara (Gambia), Shady Radwan (Egypt) and Yasser Larouci (Algeria).
Mahlonoko graduated from the Augusto Palacios Academy into The Buccaneers setup and gained prominence after becoming the club’s youngest debutant since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996.
He was promoted to the senior team at the start of August, after impressing on the club’s pre-season tour, before making his first official appearance as a substitute in their 1-1 draw with Highlands Park on August 8 at the age of 16 years and 352 days.
The Vaal-born midfielder follows in the footsteps of France-bound Pirates teenager Lyle Foster, who also made the list in 2017 and is expected to join Ligue 1 side Monaco in January after recently turning 18.
Speaking to his club’s official website, Mahlonoko expressed delight at the recognition but insists he will remain grounded and continue working to fulfill his potential.
“It is an honour to be mentioned amongst some of the best young talents in the world, but this doesn’t mean that the work is done,” Mahlonoko is quoted as saying.
“This only tells me that I have potential to achieve big things in my footballing career but I need to put in the hard work because without hard work nothing can be achieved.”