Just two years ago, midfield sensation Teboho Mokoena was captaining Free State in the SAB U21 National Championship in Soshanguve. The talented player was taking his first step towards a blossoming professional football career that could in future see him represent Bafana Bafana.
What followed was a move to SuperSport United where he grew in leaps and bounds, proving to be a fantastic graduate of one of SAFA’s well organised development initiatives.
As things stand, Mokoena is a big feature in the United team that made it to the final of the Nedbank Cup and could very well earn himself the title of Young Player of the Season.
What also helped his game tremendously was being under the tutelage of new Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, who has been impressed with Mokoena for showing maturity beyond his young age.
“People talk a lot about blooding youngsters and giving youngsters a chance. When I was at Kaizer Chiefs, Lorenzo Gordinho was in the same situation as Teboho. We have been trying to blood him carefully. But when you have a small squad and many games, Mokoena probably gets a few more games than we planned for him as we see he is showing character,” said Baxter to the media recently.
“We see he’s up for it. I don’t think we should hold him back. Therefore, it’s not me giving him the chance, it’s him taking chances that he gets and that is why he’s still in the picture.”
Mokoena is currently in South Korea, where he joined Thabo Senong’s Amajita side doing duty at the 2017 U20 FIFA World Cup.
The success story of Mokoena is one of many that are aimed at encouraging and motivating aspiring football stars and future national team players to double their efforts when they go represent their provinces at the upcoming 2017 SAB National U21 Championship that will take place in July.
There are several graduates from that tournament who are doing well in the PSL, and they include:
- Mbuyiselo Thethane – among the key players at Free State Stars
- Oarabile Morule – key player in Ajax Cape Town’s Multi Choice Diski Challenge team and could soon be promoted to the first team by coach Stanley Menzo
- Sphamandla Dhlamini – was the leading top scorer while representing Mpumalanga in the 2015 edition and is now on the books of National First Division side, University of Pretoria
- Themba Zwane – CAF Champions League winner and 2016 FIFA Club World Cup finalist with Mamelodi Sundowns.