Phiri shines in Brondby debut

YOUNG South African Lebogang Phiri was praised after making his professional debut for Danish side Brondby in their crucial 2-1 victory over OB on Sunday.

The 18-year-old had been on the bench for weeks, but was handed his first start after injuries to regulars Dennis Rommedahl and Jan Kristiansen.

The match was a crucial one for Brondby, who are among Denmark's most successful clubs but are fighting for their top-flight survival this year.

Phiri was lively throughout and had a chance for a goal, but put his effort wide when one-on-one with the keeper. He also created a number of opportunities for teammates.

Brondby striker Simon Makienok was full of praise for the performance of his young teammate after the match.

"Lebo was great in the midfield when you consider it was his first match and that he has not been at the club for so long," Makienok told reporters. "We know that he's a talented player, so we were very comfortable when he was chosen to start."

Brondby only expected to use Phiri from next season after his February move from BidVest Wits, but their injury problems in the current campaign mean he has been fast-tracked into the first team.

The club is outside the relegation zone on goal difference only with four games left in the season. Three of those are against teams in the top four, though, including a match-up with leaders FC Copenhagen on Sunday.

Phiri was scouted by Brondby as part of their relationship with Wits that has seen a number of young stars from The Clever Boys go for trials at the club in recent years.

X