Player of the weekend: Thabo Cele

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After his Man of the Match performance on Saturday for Portuguese Liga Pro side, Cova de Piedade in their 2-0 triumph over Leixoes in the league, KZN Academy graduate Thabo Cele is FARPost‘s player of the weekend from those based overseas.

The KZN Academy graduate has been a subject of a transfer speculation in the last few months, but when he spoke to this publication in August he explained that he has no intention of returning to South Africa, but rather sees himself sticking it out in Europe.

His stay in Piedade has seen him getting a lot of game time under coach Toni Pereira who has been building the team around the central midfielder.

The 23-year-old played the entire 90 minutes for Piedade and scored a late penalty to seal the 2-0 victory at home.

Cele has been with the club for the past two seasons and is entering his third season with the Lisbon-based side. His deal expires at the end of the 2020/21 season and with his ambition mostly focused on playing in the Primeira Liga chances of him renewing his contract are limited.

The SA Under-23 international signed for giants SL Benfica in 2017 before making a decision to leave the former champions due to his goal of playing regular first team football, something which was likely to take time at Benfica considering he was competing with quality senior players who were on top of their game.

He has played six Liga Pro games so far this season for Piedade and scored one goal in the league.

The ‘Magician’ has featured in a total of 47 league games for Piedade in the past two seasons as a creative midfielder, but the 2020/21 season seems to be the one where he is likely to stamp his authority in the division as he seeks a move away from the second tier.

Here is Cele’s game in numbers.

Minutes: 90

Pass accuracy: 91%

Number of passes: 41

Goals: 1

Interceptions: 3

Aerial duels won: 1

Shots: 3 (2 on target)

Cova Piedade’s next game is against Estoril Praia in the league on Friday night at 20:30 South African time.

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By Prince Sobayeni

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