Development is a very crucial part of a player’s career and starting it as early as possible is often a life defining moment in each player’s life.
South African teenager Siyabonga Ligendza joined Cardiff City at the tender age of 8 and nine years later, the striker is nearing making it into the professional space as he pushes through the ranks of the club.
The 17-year-old feels that the sacrifices he has had to make have been worth it.
“When I came to Cardiff I was a very small short player so I would get bundled off the ball easily by bigger players, that didn’t sit well with me so I had to work on my physique and now I’m the one bundling people off the ball,” said Ligendza.
Spending almost a decade at one club, but yet still only 17 years old has also been a major part of his steady development within the system.
“It’s been an amazing nine years at Cardiff and now I’m pushing go get my first professional contract as I prepare to start a journey as a professional player which is something I am very excited about moving forward to do more great things with this wonderful club,” he continued.
Ligendza scored a staggering 34 goals in the last two seasons having scored 24 with Cardiff’s U-16s in the 2018/19 and 10 last season with the U-18s and U-23 development squads.
Last season he was mostly out due to an ankle injury which took him out for the most part of the season, but this season he has started pre-season early something that he feels is a big boost for him.
“I have started pre-season early – I’m in top shape and raring to go. Let’s see if I can’t score double the goals I scored last season while also permanently going up to the U-23s full time which will get me even closer to the big dream of playing for the first team squad later so we can only hope that everything goes well moving forward,” he concluded.
The striker has in the past been called up to both England and Wales at youth level. He was born in Leicester to a South African mother and German father, but grew up in Wales which makes him elegible to represent three countries at international level something he has recently told this publication declaring his allegiance to South Africa in the near future.
The 17-year-old is very versatile and can play anywhere in the front line, but being the central striker is his most preferred role with his great ball holding abilities and good prowess in front of goal.
Cardiff City’s senior team lost out on promotion back to the English Premier League after losing out to Fulham in the play off semifinal. The Welsh club is one of the most consisted clubs in the championship always finishing in the top 6 of the league or gaining promotion.
Ligendza will be hoping that one day he will get an opportunity to play for his boyhood club that has invested so much in developing him for the past nine years.
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By Prince Sobayeni