Rivaldo return thrills Nascimento

Rivaldo Coetzee of Sundowns is back in action./Gavin Barker / BackpagePix
Rivaldo Coetzee of Sundowns is back in action./Gavin Barker / BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns defender Ricardo Nascimento feels his teammate Rivaldo Coetzee is one of the best defenders in the country and has backed him to secure a move to Europe in the future.

Coetzee, 22, made his much-anticipated return from injury last month, after more than a year on the sidelines with an unusual foot injury.

That injury denied him a chance to join Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic in 2017 from Ajax Cape Town.

The 22-year-old has been playing like he has been around all along with solid performances at the back for the Brazilians.

"It has been great to see Rivaldo get back to the field where he belongs because he is such an exceptional talent," Nascimento told Sowetan.

"He is up there when people count the best defenders in SA. I think a move to Europe will happen for him at some point. He is quality and it's only a matter of time until overseas teams come knocking at his door."

It appears that coach Pitso Mosimane is a fan of the central defensive partnership of Nascimento and Coetzee.

The Bafana Bafana prodigy from Kakamas in the Northern Cape was named after Brazil and Barcelona legend Rivaldo Borba Ferreira.

Nascimento, 31, says Coetzee's style of play definitely has some Brazilian flair to it.

"For a defender Rivaldo is a skilful player, just like the Brazilians. He is a solid defender and is comfortable with the ball at his feet," he said.

Sundowns are currently in Nigeria where they will take on Lobi Stars in the CAF Champions League at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Friday (6pm).

The South Africans have qualified for the crucial stage in the competition in Group A alongside Lobi, Asec Mimosas and Wydad Casablanca.

On the tournament, Nascimento said: "The Champions League is difficult due to all the travelling. It requires players who are mentally strong and it needs experience. We look forward to the upcoming games and qualifying for the final where we can win a second star for the club."