Mon 19 Mar by Nick Said
It is not every day that a Premier Soccer League players is compared to one of the world’s top midfielders, but that was the heady praise heaped on Maritzburg United star Siphesihle Ndlovu.The 21-year-old received a first call-up to the Bafana Bafana last week for the upcoming four nations tournament that sees South Africa play Angola on Thursday, and then one of Zambia or Zimbabwe on Sunday.The call-up came as no surprise to those who have followed his progress this season, not least Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic, who says Ndlovu reminds him of a certain French international and two-time English Premier League winner.“I like to look around the world when I compare our local players to be the best, and Ndlovu reminds me of N’Golo Kante of Chelsea,” said Sredojevic.
“His work-rate, his tackles and everything about him is the same. He is a young player that is improving, and I have always been watching him play since I came back into the country.”Ndlovu also received recognition in the form of the Absa Premiership Player of the Month prize for January as part of the Maritzburg side that has risen to third in the league.He feels there is plenty more to come and his elevation to the national team squad is the next step on his path to the top.
“I’m more than excited, it’s really a dream come true. But it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning and I still have a long way to go,” Ndlovu said.
“There are a lot of players challenging to get into the Bafana squad. But I’ve been knocking on the door and it’s a reward for me to get this recognition and it shows my performances have been good.“For me to shine like this, it’s because of my teammates. It’s because of the spirit we have in our team, the unity we have. I believe the credit should also go to them, because you know, a candle loses nothing by lighting another one. I’m rising because of them.
“The coach [Fadlu Davids] is also key to my performances, I know that. He believes in us, he’s there to correct you when needed. He makes sure we maintain the intensity, we maintain the standards, we keep up the bar. I think he’s key to what I have achieved.“It’s encouraging, we have competition in the team and that’s why everyone is always performing at their best, giving 100 percent. That’s where the consistency comes from.”Ndlovu is in just his second season in the PSL having been handed his chance in the second half of the 2016/17 campaign and virtually not missed a game since.Born in Ashdown, KwaZulu-Natal, he is a product of the Maritzburg United development system, and could yet be their best graduate yet.He must be a factor for TAB punters anytime they are mulling over their picks for Maritzburg matches, not least because he has pitched in with some key goals too in wins over Cape Town City, Baroka FC and AmaZulu.