Less than six months ago playing professional football was still just a dream for Sibongiseni Mthethwa who was still competing in the third-tier league – the SAB regional league for Royal Tigers in KwaZulu Natal.
But the fortunes suddenly changed for the Estcourt-born player after he was scouted by then GladAfrica Championship side Royal Eagles towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign while he was playing in a local tournament.
It then took only six matches during the PSL bio-bubble held in Gauteng to catch the eye of Black Leopards scouts, who invited him for trials and as they say, the rest is history.
The 26-year-old has surprisingly cemented a regular place in the heart of ‘Lidoda Duvha’ midfield under coach Dylan Kerr and has quickly won the hearts of the Leopards faithfuls.
“It was really hard being in the lower leagues because I didn’t even realise I will end up where I am now,” Mthethwa told FARPost.
“I am saying that because it has really been hard for me as I am from the deep rural areas in KZN and there were no opportunities there, but I didn’t give up. I kept on pushing while hoping that I will make it.
“Until I was identified by one of the scouts, Tebogo Moloi (not the Orlando Pirates legend), who recommended me for a trial at Royal Eagles. That’s when I got a chance to play those six games in the bubble, then from the bubble I got to get trials at Leopards and they took me,” he said.
Leopards will take on Orlando Pirates in a DStv Premiership clash at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday and Mthethwa insists that their log standings position is a big concern.
“Our main aim remains to get into the top eight and it has not changed. It is not easy for us to be at number 16, no one likes that. We know we are facing a tough opponent, but we are also ready and want to fight to make sure we get out of our current position,” he said.
“We were very unfortunate in the last few games where we take a lead and allow other teams to equalise. To our supporters, we know they can’t come to support us for obvious reasons (Covid-19 restrictions).
“But we will keep on pushing, that’s what I can promise them because if we relax then there will be a problem, so we will keep pushing and working hard,” concluded Mthethwa.
The Leopards v Pirates match starts at 15:30 in Limpopo.
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By Ofhani Munyai