For the first time this season, Sphephelo Sithole was named Man of the Match in Portugal.
The midfielder put in a scintillating performance for Primeira Liga side SAD Belenenses on Friday night in the league.
After a cagey 90 minutes where the game could have gone either way, the visitors were happy to get a point and return to Lisbon.
This was Belenenses’ third consecutive draw in the league after they drew against FC Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes before traveling to Famalicao.
Sithole has started 11 league games this season and cemented his place in the middle of the park under coach, Nuno Oliveira. Thibang Phete started alongside Sithole as the South Africans played a double six partnership in the middle of the park.
Speaking to this publication after the game, Sithole expressed his joy at receiving his first accolade in senior football.
“I’m very happy to receive the award, I just have to be humble and keep on working hard. I was ready for stepping up after playing well with the reserve team and I’m happy things are working out,” he said.
A product of the KZN academy, ‘Yaya’ left South Africa in 2017 to join Sporting Lisbon where he joined the U19 development side and played in the Uefa Youth League. In search of first team football, the 21-year-old moved to Vitoria Setubal before eventually joining Belenenses in early 2019.
At international level he was part of the 2015 U17 national team that travelled to Chile to compete in the Fifa World Cup alongside the likes of Kobamelo Kodisang, Athenkosi Dlala, Khanyisa Mayo and Mondli Mpoto to name a few.
Sithole’s game in numbers:
Pass accuracy: 86.7%
Number of passes: 40
Tackles won: 2
Ground duels won: 4
Aerial duels won: 1
Belenenses will take a well deserved break before hosting CD Nacional in the league on the 20th of February.
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By Prince Sobayeni