Manzini’s boot turning gold

2013-03-17 10:01

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Celtic marksman is the latest contender for top-scorer award.

With a number of the league’s regular scorers going through a barren patch, Bloemfontein Celtic marksman Lerato Manzini has emerged as the newest challenger for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot.

The 21-year-old from Welkom, Free State, has scored five times in his team’s last seven Absa Premiership encounters and he has attributed his explosive form to extra training sessions.

He says: “I do extra sessions on target shooting mostly after the team’s training to improve on my finishing.

“As a striker, I need to polish my finishing regardless of how skilful I am.”

The fruit of Manzini’s target shooting practice is reflected in the important goals he has netted for Phunya Sele Sele so far in the league campaign.

Just a few months ago, coach Clinton Larsen was mostly playing Manzini as an impact substitute.

The young striker has responded with important goals for the team, including in the club’s run-up to its Telkom Knockout triumph.

“Lovers”, as his hometown peers call him, has not stopped providing vital strikes. He scored the solitary goal in Celtic’s 1-0 win over Chippa United two weeks ago, having banged in two other match-winning strikes since he earned his first starting berth against Moroka Swallows in December.

He says: “Being a regular in the starting line-up has also boosted my confidence. We have a competitive squad and it requires some serious hard work to break through.”

He adds that his loan spell at National First Division side Blackburn Rovers two seasons ago prepared him for top-flight football.

Larsen says: “Lerato plays well with his back to goal and I am happy with his progress.

“But we shouldn’t forget that this is his first full season and he still has a long way to go.

We don’t want to put pressure on him. If he keeps focus, he’ll go places with his talent.

“Having gone through the development stages has also prepared him a lot better.”

Manzini came through the development ranks with the Harmony Sports Academy during the 2006/07 season after he was spotted by Free State’s renowned development coach Molefi Ntseki, who now heads Celtic’s youth structure.

Having cut his teeth at amateur sides Welkom Juventus and Katleho FC, Manzini is now making a name for himself in the big league.

Being among the league’s leading goal-scorers has put?Manzini in the spotlight as he is just three goals shy of Kaizer Chiefs’ top poacher, Bernard Parker.

Given that Manzini is a former national Under-17 and Under-20 international, Bafana Bafana selectors should invite promising talent like him to the senior national team’s local training camps to prepare them for the future.

Interestingly, Bafana assistant coach Serame Letsoaka was the one who capped Manzini at the Under-20 level.

This and that about Manzini

»?He gave his mother his entirefirstpaycheque as a professionalplayer.

»?He is the fourth child in a family

of five.

»?He travels to training with defender Tsietsi Mahoa as he has no car.

»?He undergoes computer training in his spare time.

»?His nickname, “Lovers”, is derived from his first name, which means “love”.

»?He studied up to Grade 11 and signed on for Celtic in the year he was supposed to do matric.

»?He and Ajax Cape Town defender Mpho Lebusa are currently the only active professional players in the Absa Premiership who hail from Welkom.

»?He supported Kaizer Chiefs while growing up and his favourite player was Thabiso “Skapie” Malatsi.

PSL top-scorers’ goal frequency

10 goals

Bernard Parker (Kaizer?Chiefs)

»?Last scored in Chiefs’ 2-1 win over Free State Stars on February 16 and missed one match during that period.

9 goals

Katlego Mashego(Moroka?Swallows)

»?Has gone just two matches without a goal.

8 goals

Lehlohonolo Majoro (Kaizer?Chiefs)

»?Has not found the back of the net in eight matches and he’s recovering from an ankle injury. He missed one match since he last scored.

Cuthbert Malajila (Maritzburg?United)

»?Last found the net, via a penalty, on December 18. He missed two of the club’s last five matches.

7 goals

Henrico Botes(Platinum?Stars)

»?Last scored on February 13 and missed one of the club’s four matches.


»?Has not scored in three matches.

6 goals

Mame Niang (University of Pretoria)

»?Has not scored since December 18 and has missed just a single match in that period.

Calvin Kadi (Bidvest?Wits)

»?Last found the back of the net on December 19. He missed Wits’ last two matches due to injury.

Kingston Nkhatha (Kaizer?Chiefs)

»?Scored twice in Amakhosi’s last four matches, ending a nine-game goal drought prior to that.

Rodney Ramagalela(Black?Leopards)

»?Last found the net on November?24 when his brace earned Leopards a 2-1 win over University of Pretoria. He missed three matches through injury.

5 goals

Siyabonga Nomvethe (Swallows)

»?Netted three times in The Birds’ last five matches. He missed 13 matches due to a toe injury.

LENNOX BACELA (Bloemfontein?Celtic)

»?Last scored on November 7 and has missed just a single match in that period.

Lerato Chabangu (Moroka?Swallows)

»?Has gone two matches without a goal since his winner in Swallows’ 3-2 victory over Orlando Pirates three weeks ago.

Ryan Chapman (Bidvest?Wits)

»?Scored on each occasion in The Clever Boys’ last three matches.

Note: List refers to the Absa Premiership only

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