Has Mofokeng earned a starting berth against Nigeria? Broos sings European-linked sensation praise! ‘He is a nice guy’

The youngster might make his debut on Friday when the 2023 bronze winners take on their hosts in Uyo.

Relebohile Mofokeng has rapidly risen from the junior to the senior Orlando Pirates team quickly, and even before the dust settles, the teenager is in deep waters with the national team Bafana Bafana preparing to play Nigeria in the 2026 World Cup qualifier.

One will be forgiven to think the South African sensation has been in the game for long owing to his exploits against players who have been in the game probably before he was born.

This is just a 19-year-old who was introduced to the Premier Soccer League late in the 2022/23 season and managed to end the brief campaign with a goal and an assist.

In the concluded season, the youngster played a total of 38 matches for Bucs, scored five goals and provided six goals in the process. It explains why coach Hugo Broos included him in the squad to challenge Nigeria for three points in Group C of the World Cup qualifier.

‘The quality is there, the respect is there' – Mofokeng lauded by Broos

Mofokeng has been trending in Mzansi after scoring a ‘Messi-sque' goal that handed Bucs the Nedbank Cup trophy last weekend.

However, that has not given him a big head as explained by Broos after the training session ahead of the match in Uyo on Friday.

“[Mofokeng] is a very humble guy, I was very happy to see him… and he had respect for every player,” the Belgian said in a presser.

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“You see this guy knows he is young and he needs to have respect for all those players who showed ten times more than him, being seven or eight years in the league. I see his attitude and I’m very happy about that. 

“You know when you receive so much publicity as he did this season, and then certainly with a winning goal like [the one scored against Sundowns] he’s a nice guy! And I’m very happy he’s like that.

“I hope he stays like that, stays in his head like he is now, the quality is there, nobody has to discuss that, but being humble like he is now, beyond this publicity around and talks about him going to Europe, he’s still the same Mofokeng of 10 months ago and I’m very happy about that.”

What does the future hold? Will Mofokeng make a ‘Mailula' mistake or stick to Broos' advice?

Prior to his move from Mamelodi Sundowns to Toronto in the Major League Soccer, Broos had asked Cassius Mailula to stay in the PSL and at least sharpen his skills and get some experience before leaving.

The then 22-year-old opted to leave and has since struggled to get game time regularly which has cost him a place in the Bafana squad.

Broos is not convinced that Mofokeng – who has already tried with Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, is ready to play abroad. The Belgian feels the attacker should not repeat a Mailula mistake by leaving too early.

Well, whether the youngster heeds the warning is a story of wait and see.

Has Mofokeng earned a starting berth against Nigeria? Broos sings European-linked sensation praise! ‘He is a nice guy’
Willis Sob

Willis Sob is an experienced journalist who has been in the game since 2009, covering major assignments around the continent.
His hunger for African football is unmatched, always getting the best angles and facts to feed the fans and quench their thirst.