Pirates teammates cool talk of Bafana Afcon call for teen star Mofokeng
Exciting young midfielder has made himself a key player at the Soweto club, attracting attention beyond SA
Teen star Relebohile Mofokeng has shown his immense potential in a breakthrough season for Orlando Pirates, but his Bucs teammates are cautious about talk of a Bafana Bafana call-up for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in January.
Mofokeng, 19, has made big waves since being introduced by Pirates coach Jose Riveiro in the latter stages of last season.
This season, the exciting midfielder has made himself a crucial player at the Soweto club, attracting attention beyond SA’s borders.
Mofokeng recently had a trial with English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers and there have been reports of other clubs interested abroad, including in Spain.
The highly rated footballer has been mentioned by some admirers as deserving a place in SA coach Hugo Broos’s squad for the Afcon in Ivory Coast from January 13.
Bucs senior head Miguel Timm, 31, is one of Mofokeng’s many admirers among his teammates, but he said the public should be cautious about calls for Mofokeng’s Bafana introduction in a competition that will pit Africa’s best against each other.
“He hasn’t had a call-up yet, but I think it’s coming and he is going to be very important for the national team,” Timm said.
Orlando Pirates' 19-year-old Relebohile Mofokeng played in his first orginal Soweto Derby as the Buccanners beat Moroka Swallows at Orlando Stadium.
“I think he and all of us are just trying to guide him to be the best version of himself at club level so he can get to the highest level. And the things that he can do are crazy. We are trying to help him reach his full potential.
“Being part of the Afcon, I don’t think it’s the main priority at the moment.”
Another Pirates senior player, Vincent Pule, 31, said the team’s experienced players are working hard to nurture Mofokeng.
“He is a good boy, a good human being and he always wants to learn. He listens and I think that is going to help him a lot,” Pule said.
“As the youngster he is, he is a very special boy. He is comfortable on the ball and he can do things other youngsters cannot do.”
Wolves have not given feedback on Mofokeng’s trial, but the player has been improving his game in the Premiership.
Coach Riveiro will count on players such as Mofokeng to inspire Bucs to another victory when they host TS Galaxy in their Premiership fixture at Orlando on Saturday (8pm).