Missing World Cup was big blow to Ngcobo
Budding Kaizer Chiefs midfield maestro Nkosingiphile Ngcobo has opened up about the agony of missing the Under-20 World Cup hosted by Poland from May to June this year.
Ngcobo, 20, spent seven months on the sidelines after rupturing his Achilles tendon against SuperSport United on March 16. It was only his second top-flight game.
The lad from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal is on the comeback trail after playing in Amakhosi's 1-0 defeat to their Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) on Saturday.
"It was my first 90 minutes in seven months, it wasn't that bad. I won't lie, missing the World Cup was very difficult and painful," said the soft-spoken Ngcobo after the MDC game at Dobsonville Stadium.
The Chiefs starlet had played a pivotal role in Amajita's World Cup qualification, helping the side finish third in the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger in February.
"I was so determined to showcase isiphiwo sami [my gift] at the World Cup. But ibhola, ibhola [football is football]. I accepted and focused on my healing. I thank Chiefs' medical team for helping me.''
The severe injury also taught Ngcobo some life lessons.
"The injury was a wake-up call to say anything can happen in life, you must stay prepared and be willing to fight. I am now very strong mentally," he said.
With Chiefs currently in bullish form on top of the log, Ngcobo knows it will take grit and more hard work to claim a spot in the starting line-up.
"I am aware that it won't be easy to start games because the team is doing well. But I am ready to fight, without putting unneeded pressure on myself."