Soccer ball. Picture: THINKSTOCK
Soccer ball. Picture: THINKSTOCK

Teenager Augustine Mohlonoko extends to just eight the number of players who have made a professional debut before their 17th birthday after he came on as a surprise substitute for Orlando Pirates’ against Highlands Park at the weekend.

Mohlonoko is the youngest player to appear for Orlando Pirates and is part of an elite band of teenagers to debut at such a young age.

The record is held by Mkhanyiseli Siwahla‚ who was 15 years‚ five months‚ 22 days when he made his debut for Ajax Cape Town in a cup match against Dynamos‚ after he was thrust into the starting line-up by Gordon Igesund.

Siwahla scored after 41 minutes‚ making him also the country’s youngest scorer in the professional ranks.

Second on the list is Steve Lekoelea‚ who was still known as Steve Motsiri when Eddie Lewis stuck him in the starting line-up for the last two games of the 1994 season in the colours of Moroka Swallows.

The other 15-year-old to have played in the Premier Soccer League was Kobamelo Kodisang‚ now at Bidvest Wits‚ who made his Platinum Stars debut under Cavin Johnson three years ago. It was just two days before his 16th birthday.

Mohlonoko’s debut has come less than two weeks before his 17th birthday. He is also only the second player born in the 21st century to play in the PSL.

The first was Lyle Foster‚ who had just turned 17 when he debuted for Pirates last season.