Two United players in national team

2016-06-22 06:00
Deolin Mekoa of Maritzburg United challenged by Thato Sithole of Jomo Cosmos during their 2015 Telkom Knockout match. PHOTO: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Deolin Mekoa of Maritzburg United challenged by Thato Sithole of Jomo Cosmos during their 2015 Telkom Knockout match. PHOTO: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

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MARITZBURG United have not only survived the dreaded relegation chop to remain in the league next season, it has also become the beacon of South African soccer.

Two Team of Choice players, Ishmael Mngonyama and Deolin Mekoa, are doing duty for the South African senior team in the Cosafa Cup in Namibia, which started on Saturday and will finish on 25 June.

Mngonyama is a defender and Mekoa is an attacking midfielder.

Former United’s head of junior academy, Katz Naidoo, now coaching in India, said SA’s national teams U17, U20 and U23 can recruit many players from around Pietermaritzburg and outlying areas if scouts pay attention.

“There are a lot of quality young and senior players from our city, but scouts or talent searchers must give themselves time to see what we can offer,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo says Mngonyama and Mekoa will not be the last from the Team of Choice to wear a national jersey because there are a lot of other players who are expected to be called in the future.

“May be our national selectors need to change their mentality about teams from KZN, especially Pietermaritzburg.

We are still regarded as small teams in the PSL or in SA soccer, which is so wrong.

We had a Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Mbulelo “OJ” Mabizela. We also Bryce Moon (Bafana Bafana and Sundowns), Shaun Potgieter (SA U17, U20, Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town), Andile Cele (Pirates, SA U20 and SA U23), Brett Evans (Ajax Cape Town and SA U20), Sandile Ndlovu (Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana), just to name a few.

All of them grew up around Maritzburg, played for local amateur teams and were the proud product of our development programmes,” said Naidoo.

United spokesman Brian Zuma said he was not surprised that his players were called up for the national team because they were outstanding this season and are some of the many quality players in the camp.

“We are not shocked or raising eyebrows about their call up because this is a positive statement that points out that Maritzburg United is made of quality players. I predict more players are likely to be called up in the future,” said Zuma.

Bafana Bafana assistant coach Owen Da Gama said he was proud of the young looking senior national team representing SA in Namibia because the future is bright.

“I am glad and excited to see these youngsters getting a chance to represent their country because they are our future. Mark my words, these are the same boys that will be regulars in the Bafana Bafana team in the months to come.

“We must also look at the bigger picture because the core of this side will represent us in Rio at the Olympics,” said Da Gama.

Cosafa Cup squad:


1. Jody Jason February Ajax Cape Town F.C.

2. Reyaad Pieterse Kaizer Chiefs F.C.

3. Nkosingiphile Gumede Golden Arrows F.C.


4. Rivaldo Roberto Coetzee Ajax Cape Town F.C.

5. Repo Tercious Malepe Moroka Swallows F.C.

6 Thembela Sikhakhane Golden Arrows F.C.

7. Tebogo Moerane BiDvest Wits F.C.

8. K Ishmael Mngonyama Maritzburg United F.C.

9. Siphesihle Stuurman Cape Town All Stars F.C.

10. Mothobi Mvala Highlands Park FC


11. Mbazima Tshepo Rikhotso Bloemfontein Celtic F.C.

12. Abbubaker Mobara Ajax Cape Town F.C.

13. Gift Motupa Orlando Pirates F.C.

14. Lebogang Lelani Phiri Brondby, IF

15. Deolin Quade Mekoe Maritzburg United F.C.

16. Phumlani Ntshangase Bidvest Wits F.C.


17. Aubrey Maphosa Modiba Mpumalanga Black Aces F.C.

18. Thembinkosi Lorche Orlando Pirates F.C.

19. Thabiso Simon Kutumela Baroka F.C.

21. Judas Moseamedi Mpumalanga Black Aces F.C.

22. Menzi Masuku Orlando Pirates FC.

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