Ngcobo – first Chiefs, then the World Cup

“I can’t wait for the World Cup to start,” says Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, as he looks forward to the Under-20 World Cup schedule for May 2019.

In the meanwhile, the skilful midfielder continues to train with Kaizer Chiefs’ first team and was part of the squad that travelled to Durban for the encounter against Highlands Park.

Ngcobo furthermore made an appearance at the KC Store in Umlazi on Saturday morning. Supporters immediately recognised the 19-year-old, which is testimony of his excellent performances in the MDC league and at the recently held Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger.

The midfielder was selected in the Africa Cup of Nations XI, which represented the best players at the tournament.

South Africa qualified for the World Cup at the Niger tournament and came home with a bronze medal after beating Nigeria 4-3 on penalties for the third-place play-off match.

Ngcobo was joined at Amajita by fellow Amakhosi, defender Njabulo Blom, who also gave a good account of himself in the matches he played.

“It was a great feeling to qualify for the World Cup,” the midfielder continues.

He does admit, however, that it was tough. “Most African teams play very physically. They also play the ball around very fast. But we adjusted well. We worked hard and, importantly, we played as a team.”

South Africa’s Under-20s have been drawn with Portugal, South Korea and Argentina in Group F for the U-20 World Cup, which will be held from 23 May to 15 June 2019 in Poland.

“It won’t be easy,” comments Ngcobo about the opponents. “However, if we continue to play as a team, as we did for the Africa Cup of Nations, we definitely have a good chance of progressing to the knockout stage.”

About getting an opportunity to play for the Chiefs’ first team this season, the midfielder remarks: “I have to stay focussed and work hard every day.”

Ngcobo is taking it one step at a time, which includes being in the squad again for Saturday’s match against Maritzburg United.

Chiefs host the Pietermaritzburg-based side at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 9 March. Kick-off at 18:00.

Tickets for this Absa Premiership fixture are available at Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers at R40.