SA U20 call-up for United star

2017-02-01 06:01
Young Maritzburg United striker Luyanda Ntshangase has been rewarded in his breakthrough season with a call-up to the national under-20 side. PHOTO: gallo images

Young Maritzburg United striker Luyanda Ntshangase has been rewarded in his breakthrough season with a call-up to the national under-20 side. PHOTO: gallo images

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MARITZBURG United forward Luyanda Ntshangase is a happy man following his inclusion in the South Africa U20 squad for the upcoming CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals taking place in Zambia next month.

The Amajita squad will report for a two-week training camp on Thursday, as they begin their preparations for the 20th edition of the tournament to be held in Lusaka and Ndola from February 26 to March 12.

Ntshangase told The Witness he was relishing the prospect of playing against the continent’s brightest youngsters.

“A call-up obviously at any national team level is an honour. Just representing your country and a chance to play,” the Maritzburg College Old Boy said yesterday.

“We all work hard at club level towards reaching that goal of being part of your national team and playing for those green stripes. I’m proud and happy that it came at an early stage.

“Also just to get the experience of being among other athletes who are the same age as me is a huge honour for me. I’m looking forward to getting to know new people because most of the guys I might only recognise from the Multichoice Diski Challenge,” he said.

Ntshangase, who made his senior debut for United at the FNB Stadium against Kaizer Chiefs earlier this season, has been chosen to be a part of a squad of 31 players that will be whittled down before the tournament kicks off.

Nonetheless, Ntshangase was happy just to be included in a national set-up.

“I’m going to take that chance and grab it with both hands and show what I’m capable of and why I was selected. So if that opportunity comes for me — I’ll be very thankful,” he said.

Amajita will begin their preparations with a warm-up match against host nation Zambia at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on February 8 with play scheduled for 8 pm.

Thabo Senong’s charges were drawn into Group B, alongside Senegal, Sudan and Cameroon.

Ntshangase, who hails from Imbali, will also get to team up with his fellow KZN Academy product who is now based in Portugal, defender Thabo Cele, and he believes he could learn a thing or two from him, Liam Jordan and Luther Singh.

“I’m also looking forward to partnering up with all the other selected strikers because they’ve all been doing well.

“We’ve got some guys from overseas and there’s something I’m sure I can learn from them as well. So I’m looking forward to that — the different styles of play and the sort of mindset they have to winning games,” added Ntshangase.

After an impressive season with the senior team and reserves so far, the 20-year-old striker thanked his mentors Mahieer and Fadlu Davids, whom he said played a pivotal role in his national team call-up.

“I’m a person who’s readied myself at an early age to just always work hard and keep focused and listen to the coaches. Looking back to the coaches that I have, the MDC coach Mahier and Fadlu Davids, how they have really been behind me, pushing me and encouraging me, it gives me something to look forward to and work hard for. That’s what pushes me all the time to be at my best because they’ve been there. They know better,” he said.

AMAJITA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Sanele Tshabalala (Bidvest Wits), Darren Johnson (Ajax Cape Town), Mondli Mpoto (SuperSport United).

Defenders: Aghmat Ceres, Sirgio Kammies, Shane Saralina (all Ajax Cape Town), Reeve Frosler, Givemore Khupe (both Bidvest Wits), Notha Ngcobo, Malebogo Modise (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Katleho Mohamme (SuperSport United), Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs) Tercius Malepe (Orlando Pirates).

Midfielders: Thabo Cele (Real Sporting Clubbe,
Portugal), Wiseman Meyiwa, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (both Kaizer Chiefs), Sipho Mbule, Teboho Mokoena, Sydney Mtshweni (all SuperSport United), Thabani Zuke (Golden Arrows), Katlego Ntshabeleng (University of Pretoria), Duncan Apollis (Cape Town City), Sibongakonke Mbatha (Bidvest Wits), Kobamelo Kodisang (Platinum Stars).

Strikers: Luther Singh (Unattached), Liam Jordan (Sporting Lisbon), Luyanda Ntshangase (Maritzburg United) Menzi Ndwandwe (AmaZulu) Itumeleng Shopane (Kaizer Chiefs) Khanyisa Mayo (SuperSport United) Phakamani Mahlambi (Bidvest Wits).

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