TALENTED young footballer Thabiso Mofokeng (18) from Bethlehem has shown that he is destined for stardom. The lanky defender scooped the prestigious accolade of Player of the Tournament at the u.21 boys inter-provincial SAB-Safa tournament staged in Limpopo from 9 to 16 July. He was chosen out of the more than 50 players that represented their respective ten clubs that competed in the 2016 edition. “It was a surprise for me to be awarded the prize at national level,” said Thabiso, who had made his second appearance. His first appearance was in the 2015 edition, which was won by the Free State.The central defender was chosen as the deserving recipient of the top award for consistency throughout the tournament. He was instrumental in the Free State u.21 team’s impressive run to reach the final of the week-long competition. The Free State boys went to this year’s edition as the defending champions. The Free State team was coached by former Bloemfontein Celtic legend Ishmael “Litre” Mokitlane, who scored Phunya Sele Sele’s winning goal against African Wanderers in the 1985 Mainstay Cup final.Thabiso, who plays for the Bohlokong-based Mighty Wits amateur team, has proven himself a winner, as the recent award was not his first. This was his first top award at national level, but not the very first. “I have won a couple of awards at school level and they include player of the year in 2013,” said Thabiso. He started his promising football career at his former school, Nthuteng Primary, in Bethlehem’s township of Bohlokong. He then joined current team Wits, which missed out on winning the SAB-Safa Regional League in the recently-ended 2015-’16 season. Thabiso is steadily rising to stardom. Mokitlane said making an impact at a national tournament for any young player like Thabiso was usually a gradual affair and positive sign of a rise to stardom. “The boy has football talent and has great potential to play in a competitive league. “With good guidance and focus, I have no doubt Thabiso will go far in football,” said Mokitlane. He rates Thabiso as one of the finest defenders to have been part of the Free State team. “He has the quality of a defender, which is the reason I included him in the Free State 2015 winning team,” said Mokitlane. He said Mofokeng (18) was still eligible to play in the u.21 team. The young defender is currently in gr. 11 and attends the Tiisetsang Secondary School. He had previously attended Bodikela Secondary.