The South African young­ster has ma­tured af­ter a trou­ble­some past

Kick Off - - INSIDE -

is seen as a po­ten­tial so­lu­tion to South Africa’s goal-scor­ing prob­lem at na­tional team level in the years to come. The teenager, who spent last sea­son on loan at Sport­ing Lis­bon from Bid­vest Wits, has come a long way al­ready in his fledg­ling ca­reer, and has also had to over­come per­sonal tragedy that he says has helped shape him as a foot­baller and taken him from boy to man in dou­ble-quick time.

liam Jordan might not have got on the score sheet at the 2017 Fifa Un­der-20 World Cup in South Korea in May, but he showed glimpses of why he is highly re­garded as a future se­nior na­tional team star. The Dur­ban-born young­ster, who turns 19 on July 30, has al­ways had things come eas­ily to him on the foot­ball pitch given his nat­u­ral tal­ent, yet off it, things have been very hard.

The son of the late for­mer Man­ning

Rangers, Auck­land City and Bafana Bafana striker Keryn Jordan, who passed away af­ter a long fight with can­cer of the brain in Oc­to­ber 2013, he has a steely de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed and sets al­most im­pos­si­bly high stan­dards for him­self. He ad­mits that has got­ten him into trou­ble in the past, but ac­knowl­edges, too, that he has grown and ma­tured through these ex­pe­ri­ences. Liam was born in Dur­ban, but moved to New Zealand in 2004 when Keryn got the op­por­tu­nity to play abroad. “I re­mem­ber him telling me years later when I was won­der­ing why we were in this coun­try, that he got of­fered a con­tract from the [New Zealand] Knights, who were playing in the Aus­tralian League,” Liam tells KICK OFF ex­clu­sively in Por­tu­gal. “They were the most pro­fes­sional team in New Zealand at that stage, and had good play­ers. Even­tu­ally he got there, but it didn’t work out. They were strug­gling fi­nan­cially, so dad went to Waitakere United af­ter that. “We moved there be­cause of foot­ball, but also be­cause of fam­ily, to get me and mum out of the en­vi­ron­ment of South Africa and to ex­pe­ri­ence a new coun­try. New Zealand is beau­ti­ful.”

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