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Sunday World - - Sunday World Classified - MARC STRY­DOM

BE­ING spot­ted in a ru­ral area is near im­pos­si­ble in South African foot­ball.

More so when you’re from the 10 000-pop­u­la­tion, mid­dle-of-nowhere town of Kaka­mas on the banks of the Or­ange River.

Which makes Ri­valdo Coet­zee’s path to the big time as a first-team starter at Ajax Cape Town and, last week, Shakes Mashaba s new Bafana Bafana squad, re­mark­able at such a young age.

There aren’t many op­por­tu­ni­ties there,” said the de­fender of his home town.

Coet­zee (17) would still be in school if he were not play­ing pro­fes­sional foot­ball. I have a tu­tor pro­vided by Ajax be­cause they want me to fin­ish my ma­tric, he said.

He is one of five play­ers Mashaba in­cluded from the South African un­der20 team on the verge of qual­i­fy­ing for the CAF un­der-20 cham­pi­onships in a youth-fo­cused Bafana squad for the Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers against Su­dan and Nige­ria.

There s no doubt in my mind they have the tal­ent to make a break­through to play­ing for PSL teams. Right now, the four who made Bafana with me Nh­laka­nipho Ntuli, Siyanda Ngubo, Ayab­ulela Magqwaka and goal­keeper Du­misani Msibi stand out.”

Show­ing tal­ent as a teen for Kaka­mas Sun­downs, Coet­zee went for tri­als with Safa’s School of Ex­cel­lence in 2011. One of the school’s coaches, Mandla Maz­ibuko, a na­tional un­der-17 coach, got the de­fender into the side. That was where Ajax spot­ted Coet­zee, and he joined the club’s youth struc­tures in 2012. He was pro­moted to the se­nior side last sea­son and played six games.

This sea­son, Coet­zee has formed a cen­tral de­fen­sive part­ner­ship with Ab­bubaker Mo­bara (19) that must be one of the PSL’s youngest.

Roger de Sa, the coach, said Coet­zee, like Mo­bara, made the Ajax first team on merit.

He trains with the se­nior team. You can see he’s as good as the rest, if not bet­ter.

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