20 May 2019 – Ukraine Under-20 coach Oleksandr Petrakov has singled out Amajita’s midfield sensation Thakgalo Leshabela for his energy and drive, describing him as a creative pulse for South Africa ahead of the FIFA U20 World Cup tournament to be held in Poland next week.
This followed a pulsating 1-1 draw in an international friendly between South Africa and Ukraine in Kyiv on Saturday, 18 May 2019.
Petrakov said he was highly impressed with Leshabela’s runs off the ball as well as his incisive runs with the ball.
“He is fast, creative and makes the team tick,” he said adding that Leshabela’s speed, timing and his defence splitting passes into the box were a marvel to watch.
The Ukraine youth coach said Leshabela is a leader in the team and if he continues as he did against his side in the international friendly match, it could bode well for Amajita in Group F that include traditional footballing powerhouses such as Argentina, Portugal and Korea Republic.
Meanwhile, the agility of Mamelodi Sundowns star Malebogo Modise on the left back also caught the eye of the Ukraine coach.
Modise who received a standing ovation from the Ukraine fans after the final whistle of the match, showed swift and deft touches against the structured and the much disciplined Ukraine attackers.
Petrakov also said left back Modise also caught his eyes for his remarkable tackles which thwarted most of their attacks on the left flank.
He said his overlapping runs will be a great boost for Amajita in the tournament.
“He has a lot of stamina. He runs upfront and get back very quickly in his key responsibility as a left back to defence,” Petrakov added.
Petrakov said Modise’s reading of the game is very good and it’s a plus for Amajita moving forward to the youth tournament.
Patrakov also had some good words about the performance of the central defender Keenan Abrahams who dealt with all the aerial balls. And while Amajita started the game on a slow mode during the first half, Petrakov attributed South Africa’s slow start to a lack of acclimatization.