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Player makes dream start

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Sello Diphoko shields the ball from an opponent during a match in the Varsity Football tournament.Photo: Supplied
Sello Diphoko shields the ball from an opponent during a match in the Varsity Football tournament.Photo: Supplied

The impressive form of a rising star of the team of the University of the Free State (UFS) has earned him two prized awards making his Varsity Football debut.

Sello Diphoko (21) has been recognised for helping the Kovsie football side reach the final of this competition for the first time.

He was named the FNB Varsity Football Player of the Tournament ahead of teammate Thabo Lesibe and Nkosinathi Sibiya of the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

“Winning in my first season felt very good. It was something so great,” says Diphoko.

To determine the player of the tournament, the Varsity Football head coaches each selected three nominees for the award. They then ranked their nominees from first to third, with first position worth three points, second position two points and third position one point.

Diphoko also scooped the Golden Boot award for the most goals scored in the tournament. He scored a hat trick against the University of Pretoria (Tuks) in the second round of the competition, leading his team to a 3 – 1 victory.

“Scoring a hat trick meant a lot in this tournament,” he says.

Diphoko’s achievement gave the Kovsie men’s team a reason to celebrate, despite losing by 1 – 4 to the ultimate champions, UJ, in the final played in Pretoria on 4 October.

He is in high spirits after receiving a message from his role model, retired Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates star player Daine Klate. Klate sent the young striker a message wishing him luck and encouraging him to keep chasing his dream.

The rising Kovsie football star goes by two nicknames: Klate and Matatazela.

“I love the way he plays, and that is how I ended up with his nickname. Growing up I have always wanted to become a professional soccer player. It is a dream career.”

He was one of seven first-year students in the UFS team.

Diphoko said he was scouted by the UFS during trials held last year, impressing the coaches Tebogo Motsamai and Godfrey Tenoff who were looking for talented players to represent Kovsies in the Varsity Football tournament and ABC Motsepe League.

Diphoko was born and bred in the Ikgomotseng township of Soutpan, 50 km outside Bloemfontein.

“I have been playing and learning football since the age of nine or 11 in the streets of Ikgomotseng.”

According to Diphoko, his fondest memory is representing the Kagisano Combined School in the Danone Nations Cup boys’ u.12 competition.

Diphoko is completing his first year of studies in Business Administration at the UFS.

He says that balancing studies and football has been easy.

“I can balance football and studies, because it is online now.”

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