Stellenbosch FC new Tanzanian signing Ally Msengi reminds coach Barker of a young Andile Jali
Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker says new Tanzanian signing Ally Msengi reminds him of a young Andile Jali and has high hopes that he will become a star in the Premier Soccer League and possibly beyond.
The Winelands club signed Msengi in January and the teenager made his debut in the 1-0 home loss to Mamelodi Sundowns‚ their final fixture before the coronavirus outbreak brought football to a halt in the country.
“Ally was first introduced to us by his agent last year and we invited him for a 10-12 day trial in November‚” Barker tells TimesLIVE.
“I could see from the first touch that he was talented and he impressed.
"I had other players coming up to me and saying‚ ‘coach‚ we must sign this kid’. That tells you a lot when a 17-year-old can immediately earn their respect.”
Stellenbosch were not able to sign Msengi until he turned 18 in mid-December‚ and with his work permit taking a while to come through‚ it wasn’t until this month that he was able to make his debut.
“It was a big game against Sundowns‚ and to throw him in was a bit tough for him‚” Barker says.
“He was caught in possession for their goal‚ and you wondered if that would make his head drop‚ but instead he grew in stature.
“He reminds me of when I had Andile Jali as a young player [at University of Pretoria]. He has very similar attributes.”
Barker says Msengi has grown a lot‚ on and off the field‚ in the few months he has been at Stellenbosch.
“He is very calm for his age and composed on the ball.
"His awareness of space and creating time on the ball for himself is impressive. He is athletic‚ quick and has a great attitude to training.
“He is one of those midfielders who can get forward and attack‚ as well as get back and defend. He also has a great character as a person.”
Source: TMG Digital.