10 June 2018– Just a few years ago, Maphosa Modiba was an unknown youngster at the famous School of Excellence.
An opportunity to try his luck with the Nedbank Ke Yona Talent Search was the start of bright things for him.
Today he is an integral part of the Supersport United side and was one of the players who shone this week to lead Bafana Bafana to victory in the Plate Final of the 2018 COSAFA Cup that just ended in Polokwane, where he was born.
Modiba started as a left back but moved to being a winger, a position he seems to be excelling in.
He was part of former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba’s U20 squad before being promoted to the Senior Team, where he made his debut in the same COSAFA Cup in 2016 in Windhoek, which South Africa won.
He last played for Bafana Bafana in September 2016 in the 1-1 draw against Mauritania, and was not considered the whole of 2017. But he bounced back for the Four Nations Tournament in Zambia in March this year under head coach Stuart Baxter.
Now he finds himself back in the COSAFA Cup squad – right where he started for South Africa.
With eight caps to his name, Modiba has scored two goals in the 2018 edition of the completion, and won a Man of the Match award in the 3-0 victory over Botswana – where he scored one of the goals.
SAFA Media caught up with him after the win and gathered his thoughts on the tournament
What is your impression of the Plate Final against Botswana?
We played very well, and since the camp this is when started to gel nicely and you could see that with our second game (against Namibia where South Africa 3-1). We played according to the coach’s instructions and it paid off. We managed to win the game and the Plate, but we would have loved to win the tournament itself but it didn’t go our way. We have a bunch of young and exciting youngsters and I think we will all learn from this.
The team gradually upped their game as the tournament continued…
In the first game we didn’t know each other that well, and we had only a few days to prepare, but we gelled very well in our second game – even though we created some chances against Madagascar (the first game of the tournament which South Africa lost on penalties) which we should have buried, but it is now water under the bridge. We will keep on pushing hard and make sure we get a call-up again.
Being named Man of the Match against Botswana
It feels great, I remember I was praying before the start of the game and God has provided – I am thankful and happy to be on the score sheet again, which is what I love doing. I just want to take the positives from this game and move forward. It just feels good scoring because also my mom was there, and the entire family, watching from the stands. Actually, it is the first time I score at this venue (New Peter Mokaba Stadium) while she is watching, so I was happy with the goal.
You have a good story to tell, having started with the Nedbank Ke Yona Talent Search
I am just thankful to God who I believe has been pushing me, and I have been pushing myself as well, the support I get from my family has made sure that I am where I am now, to be grounded, humble and just keep on working hard so I can achieve more things. I am still young, I am still learning this game and I am very grateful to Nedbank for what they did for me and I just hope they get youngsters from rural areas as well to showcase their talent.
What does the future hold for Bafana Bafana with this bunch of talented players?
The future looks great with the team that we have right now, you can see that the players that are here are playing week in week out in their respective teams, and it is good to see something like this – youngsters given a chance to showcase their talent. I just hope we get more youngsters so that we can put the country where it is supposed to be. I was happy with the squad and I hope to see more youngsters coming through.
How important is the COSAFA Cup for these youngsters?
Experience wise, it was important for us to know each other and experience the senior national team, most of the players here gained a lot of experience and they can only take that forward because no one can away that experience.
Bafana Bafana AFCON qualifiers in September, fancy yourself in that squad?
I just have to push, work hard, stay injury free and anything can happen. I want to see myself in the national team because it has been my dream and I am enjoying that dream right now. I hope to be in the next squad but only hard work can take me there.
A bit of a break after a long season?
Just a little bit of holiday to get my mind away from football and focus on the next season, but right now it’s time to go home and relax with my family.
FACT FILE – MAPHOSA MODIBA
Born: 22 July 1995
Club: SuperSport United
National team debut: v Lesotho, COSAFA Cup, 18 June 2016
Last game played: v Botswana, COSAFA Cup, 8 June 2018
First goal scored: v Namibia, COSAFA Cup, 5 June 2018
Last goal scored: v Botswana, COSAFA Cup, 8 June 2018
Cape per club: Mpumalanga Black Aces 3, SuperSport United 5
A product of the SAFA School of Excellence … was also a graduate of the Nedbank Ke Yona Talent Search … started as a left-back but was moved to the wing by former Mpumalanga Black Aces coach Muhsin Ertugral … briefly moved to Cape Town with the sale of the club, but joined SuperSport in August 2016 after just two appearances … born in Polokwane.
National Team Games Statistics
|v Lesotho 1-1||COSAFA Cup|
|v Swaziland 5-1||COSAFA Cup|
|v Botswana 3-2||COSAFA Cup||caution|
|v Mauritania 1-1||African Nations Cup qualifier|
|v Angola 1-1||Four Nations tournament||replaced by S. Ndlovu after 73 minutes|
|v Madagascar 0-0||COSAFA Cup|
|v Namibia 4-1||COSAFA Cup||scored penalty|
|v Botswana 3-0||COSAFA Cup||scored|