Mon 13 Nov by Nick Said
One of the unsung heroes of SuperSport United’s run to the final of the 2017 African Confederation Cup has been versatile star Aubrey Modiba.
The 22-year-old can feature at left-back or on the left-wing, and has played a crucial role in getting Matsatsantsa into their first continental final with goals, assists and at times some scrambling defence.He netted a crucial goal against TP Mazembe in a 2-2 draw in Lubumbashi in the pool phase of this year’s Confederation Cup, a feat he will hope to match in Sunday’s first leg of the final at the same venue.Modiba has had a remarkable journey to the top, and just a few years ago was an amateur hoping to make it big.But his fortunes changed when he was part of the Nedbank Ke Yona Team in 2014, a programme that looks to unearth new players from around the country through a set of trials and then mentorship from top coaches.Modiba was a stand-out performer a few years ago and as one of the coaches in the programme was then Bafana tactician Shakes Mashaba, he was fast-tracked into the national team set-up, initially at Under-20 level, but later as a full international.“I believed in myself and my family has always been really supportive of me, which is very important too. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and it wasn’t, it took a lot of hard work,” Modiba told TAB Sports Express.“But I am now getting the rewards of that hoping to make a big difference for my club and for my country. That was always my dream growing up and it’s amazing to think I have that opportunity now.” Modiba was signed by Mpumalanga Black Aces in the 2014/15 season, but it was only in the following campaign under then coach Muhsin Ertugral where he flourished.He was an important cog by the time the club was sold to John Comitis to form Cape Town City, but was not keen for the move to the Mother City and when SuperSport offered him the chance to stay in Gauteng, where Black Aces had previously trained, he jumped at the chance.Both previous coach Stuart Baxter and current boss Eric Tinkler have used him extensively and he started in the MTN8 final win for his side over Cape Town City.One thing he has added to his game this season is goals, he has four already, including against Kaizer Chiefs, and a brace in his last game against Lamontville Golden Arrows.He was a Chiefs fans growing up and idolised Siphiwe Tshabalala, also a left-winger, so that recent goal against AmaKhosi was extra-special.But he would swap it to be on the winning side against Mazembe and lift a continental trophy this year."I have not missed a game in the Confederation Cup. I am the only one who has played every game and I’m happy,” he told reporters. “It shows that there is something I am doing right. I just have to keep performing consistently. Credit to the coaches for giving me the opportunity."