A few years ago, South Africa seemed to be facing a shortage of quality defenders after the retirement of the likes of Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish and Neil Tovey. However, the headache for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ hosts now lies on who to pick from a group of capable contenders at the back. One such candidate is promising 22-year-old, Anele Ngcongca. When he was first picked by then-coach Joel Santana in August of last year, the South African media dubbed him as the “mystery man” – an individual whom many scribes had never heard of. However, to those who had been following his progress as a youngster in the sandy streets of Cape Town, Ngcongca had shown his potential to be a national team gem – a rare talent with composure beyond his years.
It didn’t take long for him to silence his doubters when he made his debut against Japan last year in November in Port Elizabeth during a friendly international. The Belgian-based defender caught the eye of the Bafana Bafana selectors last year, and Ngconga has established himself as an alternative for Parreira at right-back. He, however, faces stiff competition from Siboniso Gaxa, who has, in all sundry and all, claimed ownership to the position for the past two years. Born in the Gugulethu township in Cape Town, Ngcongca left South Africa without having played top flight football domestically. He played for then-First Division side, FC Fortune in Cape Town when he was spotted by the Belgian outfit, Racing Genk, who have a reputation for developing African talent.