Khanya Leshabela is extremely disappointed to miss the Olympic Games, according to his father.
The Leicester City midfielder suffered an ankle injury on the last week of the 2020/21 campaign.
He was initially named in the 40-man preliminary squad and later included in the 25-man squad that was meant to travel to the United Arab Emirates for a four-nations tournament which was later cancelled.
“Khanya was so excited about going to the national team. I remember after the initial 40-man squad he called me excited that he had made the list, but unfortunately the injury happened,” Mr Leshabela tells FARPost.
“What’s funny is that we initially didn’t think the injury was a big deal until he started feeling pain a week after it occurred. We then took him to X-ray to check the seriousness of the injury and luckily nothing was broken – it was just a knock.
“He is due for another check after the swelling goes down. He was not going to recover before the Olympics, but we hope he recovers in time before the new season.”
In March, the 21-year-old made his English Premier League debut coming on as a second half substitute in a 5-0 win against Sheffield United at the King Power Stadium. The 2021/22 season is expected to be his breakthrough season in senior football – something his father reiterated.
“The former coach Claude Puel was fast tracking him into the first team when he was there at Leicester. We even agreed to him signing a long-term contract because the plan was clear, but a new coach came and things had to restart from scratch. He made his debut and we are happy with his progress.
“The plan is to get him playing every week now and a loan is the best option at the moment. Many youngsters went on loan it helped them a lot – so we’re looking at our options and we will see where we take him.”
Leshabela joined Leicester in 2013 after being scouted playing for a club in Northampton. He has been one of a few youngsters who have shown a lot of potential in the youth ranks and head coach Brendan Rodgers is believed to be a big admirer of the Soshanguve-born attacking midfielder.
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By Prince Sobayeni