United duo Mngonyama, Mekoa part of SA U23 squad

2015-04-09 00:00

MARITZBURG United may still be reeling from their 1-0 loss at home to SuperSport United on Saturday, but the club received a welcomed boost yesterday.

Centre back Kwanda Mngonyama and winger Deolin Mekoa have both been called up to coach Owen da Gama’s U23 squad for Saturday’s All Africa Games qualifier against Sudan at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. South Africa go into the clash looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

While Mngonyama is no stranger to national call-ups, having been a regular member of Shakes Mashaba’s squad in 2015 Afcon qualifiers, Mekoa’s inclusion came as somewhat of a surprise.

Having been signed by Maritzburg boss Steve Komphela at the start of the 2014/15 season, Mekoa’s meteoric rise has seen him move from amateur football with Wentworth’s Young Cavaliers to PSL football to national honours in less than a year.

The 21-year-old has had a stop-start season for the Team of Choice so far, having been eased into the big time by Komphela. But his form of late has been impressive, and he scored his first goal as a professional in last month’s last-minute winner at Platinum Stars.

Another of Maritzburg’s new signings, Mondli Cele, was called up to Mashaba’s preliminary Afcon 2015 squad but did not make the final cut of players that travelled to Equatorial Guinea.

“Both Deolin and Mondli’s stories show a big change for both players. It is fantastic that they have moved up so quickly from the amateur ranks and as a club we are extremely proud to have contributed to that,” Maritzburg CEO Younus Kadodia told The Witness yesterday. “I suppose the message to them has to be that this is not the end, it is only the beginning. If they want to keep getting national call-ups then they will have to put in the hard work to stay there. We wish Kwanda and Deolin well for the game this weekend.”

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