Gifted Ngidi re­turns and aims for the stars

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWA­GAE daniel.mothowa­[email protected]­press.co.za

Six years ago, Snethemba Ngidi showed us glimpses of what his ca­reer could have been like had in­juries not paused the tal­ented young­ster in his tracks.

In 2012, Ngidi left an im­pres­sion dur­ing the eight-na­tion in­ter­na­tional Un­der-20 tour­na­ment while turn­ing out for the South African youth side Ama­jita.

Such was Ngidi’s in­flu­ence in the na­tional youth team that he was tipped for star­dom af­ter he helped Ama­jita to a third place at the event, which was ul­ti­mately was won by Brazil.

How­ever, as with many other promis­ing tal­ents be­fore him, the mid­fielder faded into ob­scu­rity once the tour­na­ment ended.

He said a se­ries of in­juries – he hurt his an­kle and knee, and rup­tured his Achilles – that pre­vented him from reach­ing his goals.

At the time of his ex­ploits at the Cape Town tour­na­ment, he was on the books of the Su­perS­port United Academy, which he had joined at the age of 12.

“I have suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries be­fore, but this last one re­ally left me bro­ken to a point that I was con­tem­plat­ing quit­ting the game,” Ngidi said.

“This was af­ter I suf­fered an Achilles rup­ture in Fe­bru­ary.”

In his many seasons at Su­perS­port, he never re­ally cracked it into the Mat­sat­santsa a Pi­tori se­nior team, ex­cept for cameo ap­pear­ances in 2014, while al­ter­nat­ing this with runs in the Mul­tiChoice Diski Chal­lenge (MDC) side.

It’s only now that the 23year-old is pick­ing up the pieces at NFD side TS Galaxy.

Ngidi re­turned to full fit­ness in Septem­ber and his come­back co­in­cided with the ap­point­ment of Dance Male­sela, who as­sumed the coach­ing reins in the same month.

“I could have been far with my ca­reer,” said Ngidi, who comes from KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal.

“I first un­der­went a knee op­er­a­tion in coach Gavin Hunt’s fi­nal sea­son at Su­perS­port and I was loaned to Vasco da Gama in the NFD. Upon my re­turn, coach Gor­don Ige­sund was the one in charge and I couldn’t find space in the first team, but fea­tured mainly in the MDC team.”

Ngidi is ex­cited to play un­der Male­sela at the Rock­ets.

The diminu­tive mid­fielder has been cen­tral to Male­sela’s trade­mark pass­ing game. Last week­end, Ngidi and his team­mates ex­hib­ited their pass­ing skills when Galaxy shared 21 passes among them with the last touch re­sult­ing in a goal in the 5-2 de­mo­li­tion of Ajax Cape Town in the Ned­bank Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion com­pe­ti­tion. “Coach Dance un­der­stands the way I play, and we also un­der­stand his coach­ing phi­los­o­phy. I am en­joy­ing my foot­ball again,” Ngidi said.

“He al­ways re­minds us that, ‘to score, you need pos­ses­sion’. All we need is to get more num­bers in the box be­cause we have been play­ing good foot­ball, yet we are not trans­lat­ing our dom­i­nance into goals.”

Ngidi said the big win was his­tory as their fo­cus had shifted to help drag Galaxy out of the bot­tom seg­ment of the NFD log. Galaxy – placed 12th on the NFD log with 13 points from 12 games – host lead­ers Stel­len­bosch FC at the Kameel­riv­ier Sta­dium in Mpumalanga this af­ter­noon. The game kicks off at 3.30pm.

Snethemba Ngidi

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