Siyabonga Ligendza is pleased to be included in David Notoane’s preliminary squad for the Olympics.
The teenager is one of the surprise inclusions in South Africa’s 40 men squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics scheduled to start in July of this year. Ligendza was born in England to a South African mother and German father.
He spent the first few years of his life with his grandmother in South Africa before moving back to Europe where his parents were working. The teenager joined Cardiff City at the age of eight and he has been going through the system for the past nine years.
Cardiff recently gave the 17-year-old his first professional contract and he has been doing well for the U18 development squad.
Ligendza says he was ecstatic when he heard that his name was part of the preliminary squad and he will do his best to impress the coaches.
“I’ve found my feet a bit more as this season had gone on. I’ve started to score a few more goals in the past few weeks. I’m feeling happy about the way that I’ve been playing, and I want that to continue.
“I only found out when the head coach called me from South Africa. I didn’t know a lot at the time about the situation with the Olympic Games this year, so when they called me saying that I was in this 40-man group my heart skipped a beat, I didn’t know how to react to it.
“I’ve always wanted to play for South Africa. It’s where my family originates from, so I’ve always wanted to represent them. My mother is South African, and she was more excited about it than me to be honest! She was over the moon, and very proud.”
He continued to praise the academy coaches for believing in his abilities and hopes to continue developing into a better player.
“I’ve had a lot of really good support from the coaches, both throughout the season and about making the preliminary squad. They’ve been joking a lot about getting me to the Olympics and onto that plane, and it clearly means a lot to them, as it does to me.
“It really would be something to look forward to. There are some good teams in there, especially with France in our group.
“Firstly, I want to finish off this season as strong as we can, and hopefully get myself a few more goals in the process. It would be great to represent my country at that level, and to make my family and Club proud.”
South Africa has been drawn against the hosts Japan, France and Mexico in group A. They will start the tournament with a tricky opening game against Japan on the 22nd of July.
By Prince Sobayeni