Not every footballer gets the opportunity to start their careers at a very young age going through the right structures at a well organised club with world class facilities and coaches.
South African striker Siyabonga Ligendza joined Welsh club Cardiff City at the tender age of 8 starting with the club’s U-9 development squad and nine years later in 2020 he is getting closer to his dream of signing a professional contract with the English Championship outfit.
Ligendza has grown from strength to strength with Cardiff becoming one of the club’s most reliable goal poachers at youth level. His most noticeable season was the 2018/19 season where the big forward racked up 24 goals for the club’s U-16 squad which had clubs all over England wanting to sign him from Cardiff who couldn’t let the player go.
“I did so well that season so many clubs contacted my family wanting to sign me to join them, teams in the Premier League came knocking on the door, but Cardiff couldn’t let me go and I felt it was important to stay here while developing my skills more,” said Ligendza.
Although he had an injury that took him out for most of last season the skillful forward still managed to reach double digits scoring 10 goals while playing for the U-18 and U-23 development squads. He recently told this publication that his goals this coming season are to be part of the U-23 set up permanently while fighting to earn his first Professional contract with his boyhood club.
The 17-year-old has since confirmed to FARPost that the negotiation for a new deal have began sooner than he had expected at the club. “I got a call from my agent to go meet the management who told us that they have been very pleased with the progress I’ve made over the years and want to offer me a contract soon,” he explained.
“Negotiations for a Pro deal are underway now, but I’m surprised because it came earlier than I expected it to happen. My target was to score so many goals this season such that by the end of this season I earn my first deal, but I’m happy it might happen sooner,” he concluded.
The striker who was born in Leicester in England spent four years in South Africa staying with his grandmother in Makapastad before moving back abroad, but now to Wales where his mother got an opportunity to work in Swansea.
He has a strong South African connection and one day dreams of playing for South Africa’s national team as well as fulfilling his grandmother’s wish of seeing him donning the famous Mamelodi Sundowns blue and yellow colours.
By Prince Sobayeni