The ability is there, and many have high hopes that Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Nkosingiphile “Mshini” Ngcobo can deliver on his potential.
But it’s not always that simple. The hard work for the 20-year-old starts now with coach Gavin Hunt tipping the young man for success at the top level.
Ngcobo, who is a former Chiefs Diski Challenge (reserve side) captain, has been identified as one for the future and is quietly going about his rise with encouraging maturity.
However, Amakhosi head coach Hunt has urged Ngcobo to keep his feet on the ground after the Pietermaritzburg-born midfielder produced a Man of the Match performance in the 1-0 win over Chippa United on Tuesday night in a DStv Premiership encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
While there’s no doubting Ngcobo’s ability, Hunt is well aware that often the kids are let down by a fragile mentality as success in sport is not just about talent but it’s also about commitment, sacrifice, about dealing with pressure, keeping at bay the lure of outside influences.
And unfortunately, as a result of not handling these aspects, many promising South African youngsters have failed to live up to their potential.
“I won’t say much to him [Ngcobo] but if he drops below the standard then he won’t play. Every young player will go through the ups and downs, what he does off the ball is the most important thing,” said Hunt, who is a keen believer in young blood.
In Hunt’s team, no one’s place is guaranteed. Hard work at training is rewarded with a chance on the pitch and Ngcobo has had a bright start to the 2020/21 season, featuring in all Chiefs’ three games this campaign so far.
“I mean he’s got so much ability the boy. I can only give him the platform and show him and explain to him and coach him, it is up to the boy,” added Hunt.
“What we mustn’t do which we do too much in South Africa is [when] a youngster has one good game, we blow them up, he has to keep his feet on the ground and really demand more from him, I think he’s got more in him.”
The former SA junior international was promoted to Chiefs’ first team from the club’s development back in the 2017/18 season and made his debut at the age of 19 against Maritzburg United on 9 March 2019.
However, Ngcobo under previous coaches Steve Komphela and Ernst Middendorp saw little game time but Hunt appears to have more faith in the youngster along with Happy Mashiane and Njabulo Blom.
“We can’t just have players with ability, we’ve got to have players who do the right thing, let us take it one step at a time,” said Hunt.
“He [Ngcobo] has played three games now, the next step is to try and get him on the scoresheet,” concluded the Chiefs mentor.
In his debut season for Chiefs, the budding star suffered a serious setback that sidelined him for a year – rupturing his Achilles tendon and now he is fully fit and eager to shine.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi
All pictures courtesy of Kaizer Chiefs