England-born teenager Siyabonga Ligendza has received his first ever South African national team call up.
The 17-year-old Cardiff City striker was born in Leicester City to a German father and South African mother, but grew up in Wales which makes him eligible to represent four countries (Wales, South Africa, England and Germany) through parentage and naturalization.
Ligendza has previously been called up to represent both England and Wales at youth level having played for their U14 and U15 youth national teams over the years, but he has come out on a few times saying he would like to honour his family by representing Mzansi in the near future.
After a blistering start to the 2020/21 season with Cardiff City’s U18 development squad it seems he has done enough to get the attention of national U20 coach Helman Mkhalele who has called him up for the upcoming COSAFA Cup tournament in Port Elizabeth.
Ligendza has scored a whopping 37 goals in the last 16 months in the development leagues in England. He burst into the scene two years ago when he scored 24 league goals for Cardiff City U16 before being promoted to the U18 and U23 squads.
This season he has been playing with both squads while continuing his development in the Welsh club’s ranks. He has 4 goals so far.
A family representative confirmed the news saying they are happy and hope after all processes are done he can travel. “Yes Siya (Ligendza) has received a call up from back home we are very happy for him, he is also ecstatic about it hey. There are certain travel precautions we need to follow before he can travel so hopefully all processes are done in time so he can come.”
Port Elizabeth will host yet another COSAFA Cup tournament, but now the stakes are high with the regional competition also doubling up as an U20 AFCON qualifier for next year’s edition.
The top two teams from the tournament will qualify automatically for the continental showpiece and coach Mkhalele is gathering the best squad to ensure that South Africa reaches the 2021 AFCON under his mentorship.
South Africa has qualified for the previous two AFCONs at this age group and have also gone on to reach the FIFA World Cup on two consecutive occasions in the 2017 and 2019 editions.
RELATED ARTICLE: Ligendza & Kgatlana on target
By Prince Sobayeni