Rising star’s quest for gold

2013-04-14 10:00

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Hotshot marksman is in contention for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot after putting seven goals at the back of the net in the Absa Premiership, but can he put an end to his Cup goal drought?

Mogakolodi Ngele was a little-known trialist at Platinum Stars just under a year ago.

The former Township Rollers marksman said he initially arrived in the country last year as a Bidvest Wits target but he opted for Stars.

He was part of the Botswana team that qualified for its maiden Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon last year.

With 21 Absa Premiership games and seven goals under his belt, the 22-year-old from Mochudi in Botswana is among the contenders for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot.

Since joining at the start of the current campaign, Ngele has been one of the key components in Stars’ challenge for the league championship, as well as the Phokeng-based club’s impressive run in the Nedbank Cup.

“I am motivated by the support I get from the technical team and my team-mates,” said the lad, whose nickname is “Tsotso”.

He added: “Also, I am settled in Rustenburg, which is closer to Botswana and people here mostly speak Setswana.”

Stars meet Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarterfinals of the R6 million Nedbank Cup at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria this afternoon and Ngele – currently on seven league goals – said he is hoping to break his Cup goal drought.

He scored the equaliser during the two clubs’ recent league meeting in Phokeng. Stars coach Cavin Johnson has attributed Ngele’s form to the striker’s understanding of the Premiership game.

“He is one of the finds of the season. Most players, especially those from neighbouring countries in the Southern African region, often struggle to adapt to Premiership football.

“Tsotso now has a bit of an understanding of Premiership football because we have given him a lot of starts,” said Johnson.

Ngele and his co-striker, Henrico Botes, account for 14 league goals – with seven each – of Stars’ season total of 39.

This is part of the reason Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane conceded that his side were underdogs going into today’s Cup clash.

“We are playing a side that is on form, free-scoring and I’m not surprised they are second on the (Premiership) log,” said Mosimane.

Sundowns are chasing the pack outside the Premiership’s top-eight bracket and Mosimane wants to make the best of the Brazilians’ Cup run.

“The Nedbank Cup means a lot to us as we want to participate in the CAF Confederation Cup next season,” he said.

Nedbank Cup winners automatically qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup.

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