NC star tested against Stars

The journey to football stardom beckons to Sipho Sibiya via the 2018 Nedbank Ke Yona Team.

The youthful player from Kuruman in the Northern Cape is one of the 16 players in the squad of this talent identi­fication initiative.

Sibiya (23), as part of the 2018 Ke Yona Team, will tackle Free State Stars, defending champion of the Nedbank Cup, on 9 September.

The match will be played at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa near Johannesburg.

The team of mainly u.23 players was announced on 8 August.

For Sibiya, selection means he finally must let his muscle strength bring his team’s success to fruition; as well as the dream to be scouted by a professional team in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The team’s success will be to plot the downfall of Ea Lla Koto during the eagerly-awaited encounter, which will test the ability of players in the Ke Yona Team.

Sibiya is faced with the assignment to give a good account of himself after many hours spent sweating in intensive training at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.

His journey began with a trip of 800 km from his home in Kuruman to Bloemfontein and back to attend trials at the Dr R.P. Molemela Stadium.

The one-day trials were held in April. Sibiya made a lasting impression, convincing the coaches, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, Mike Mangena and Khabo Zondo – and ultimately made it into the Ke Yona Team.

The coaches saw more than 16 000 hopeful players who attended trials at five centres in the country.

Sibiya is versatile enough to play in three positions and his ability, coupled with consistent form, convinced the coaches to select him.

Presumably the coaches considered the young lad would be a suitable alternative to provide the team with offensive options in an encounter which demands players with big-match temperament.

Sibiya cut his teeth in the game playing for non-professional teams, such as Young Pirates, City Lions (SAB League clubs) and Real Hearts, a team campaigning in the ABC Motsepe League, a third-tier division run by the South African Football Association (Safa).