Nkosingiphile ‘Mshini’ Ngcobo has arrived back from national duty to join the Kaizer Chiefs first team in training after successfully defending the Cosafa Cup with the South African national Under-20 side.
“We were under pressure to defend the title,” admits Ngcobo as Amajita needed penalties to beat Zimbabwe in the final played at Nkana Stadium in Zambia.
Njabulo Blom was the other Chiefs representative in the national team. “I didn’t room with him,” Ngcobo comments. “It’s best to get to know players outside of your club. I roomed with Thabiso Monyane from Orlando Pirates.”
After Namibia’s withdrawal, Amajita played two group matches in which they beat Mauritius and eSwatini 5-0 and 4-0 respectively. “I won’t go as far as saying that group games weren’t easy as they were crucial to qualify for the semi-final,” reflected Ngcobo.
The semi-final was the first real test for Amajita, scraping through with a 1-0 win over Angola. Ngcobo provided the assist for the winning goal and scooped the Man of the Match award. “The semi-final was tough, it was different to the other games. It was because of my teammates and applying the instructions of the coach that we won and that I was able to win the Man of the Match award.”
Ngcobo and Blom played throughout the tournament including the final which was won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time. The result meant Amajita defended the Cosafa Cup for the first time ever.
Having only recently turned 19, Ngcobo is the most capped player of the current crop at the Under-20 level with 21 caps. He plays an important role in Thabo Senong’s squad which included many debutants. “I encourage them to work hard and get them to understand the importance of playing for the national team, which is good for their careers and making their families proud.”
Next up for Amajita is the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off in Niger in February. South Africa will face Nigeria, Burundi and hosts Niger in Group A. Passage out of the group stage will guarantee a place at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. The players report for camp early next month for what promises to be a busy 2019.
“Winning the Cosafa Cup has given us the confidence to go to Niger and we plan to do well. As long as we play as a team, we can beat anyone,” concluded Ngcobo.
SOurce: Chiefs website