Taking their shots

2016-11-02 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images Maritzburg United’s 19-year-old Luyanda Ntshangase from Imbali, making his senior debut for the club, takes on the Tower, Eric Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs, during their Telkom Knockout clash at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.

PHOTO: gallo images Maritzburg United’s 19-year-old Luyanda Ntshangase from Imbali, making his senior debut for the club, takes on the Tower, Eric Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs, during their Telkom Knockout clash at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.

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THE Msunduzi Municipality’s investment in Maritzburg United is beginning to pay off as two local lads made their debut against Kaizer Chiefs on the weekend.

Luyanda Ntshangase from Imbali played for almost the entire two hours at the FNB, while Siphesihle Ndlovu came on in the 80th minute of the game that was decided by a penalty shootout after the sides were unable to find the back of the net in 120 minutes.

“The experience [of playing for United] was great. As a boy growing up, it’s something you wish could come your way one day,” the 19-year-old Ntshangase said.

Having impressed in the Multichoice Diski Challenge last season, and with the national Under-20 team’s coaches inquiring about the local lad, he was now looking to cement a place in the side. And like many other young footballers across the globe, his chance to impress fell to him following the injuries to the club’s strikers — with both Zimbabwean Evans Rusike and Belgian Andrea Fileccia missing their clash against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium last weekend — and he certainly grabbed it with both hands.

For Ntshangase, playing for his hometown club was a big deal for him, adding that he had all the support he needed to go further as a footballer.

For Ndlovu, who came on as a late second-half substitute, but ended up playing 50 minutes as the game went into extra time, it was also about learning, and living his dream, having been with the club since he was 16.

“This was my dream — to play for my local team. Most footballers from Pietermaritzburg end up playing elsewhere, but for me, playing for this club was always my dream,” the Ashdown youngster said.

“With the performance I gave on the weekend, I hope I can get more chances,” added the 20-year-old midfielder-cum-defender they call “Mbesuma”.

Coach Ernst Middendorp acknowledged that due to injuries, they were forced to make the changes they did, but that the two acquitted themselves well against the might of Amakhosi and all their wealth of stars on the weekend.

“It’s sometimes by accident [that you have to make these selections] because Andrea is not so far in and Evans came out, and there was a little bit of disappointment with other guys Sheldon [van Wyk]in the front and Mohau [Mokate] in the Diski team.

“They showed, particularly Luyanda, that they are prepared, particularly after three or four months working with the professional set-up. We were convinced that [Ntshangase] would be able to do the job.

“Mbesuma is similar, probably a stage further and being flexible being able to handle different positions. He was quite mature in how he handled himself after coming in in the second half after we had an injury with Danso [Weidlich], he was good.

“They both showed to be really prepared with a performance covered by confidence in terms of their attitude,” the German tactician said.

The club will be hoping the two can repeat their performance when they face bitter rivals Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala Stadium this season.

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