Aaron Mokoena wants to help Cape Town City youngsters get to Europe

Sazi Hadebe Sports reporter
Former Bafana Bafana skipper Aaron "Mbazo" Mokoena.
Former Bafana Bafana skipper Aaron "Mbazo" Mokoena.
Image: twitter/cape town city

Cape Town City have strengthened their technical team by appointing former Bafana Bafana skipper Aaron "Mbazo" Mokoena as assistant-coach to Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink.

Mokoena’s move was announced a few hours before City’s first DStv Premiership game of 2021 against second-placed Moroka Swallows at the Dobsonville Stadium at 5pm on Tuesday.

The 40-year-old Mokoena replace Vasili Manousakis who resigned last week to join Benni McCarthy alongside Siyabonga Nomvete as his assistants at AmaZulu FC.

The former central defender retired as a player in 2013 and had previously served as Bafana assistant manager. The City job will be Mokoena’s first as a coach after playing for some big name clubs in a 13-year spell in Europe.

After starting his career as young defender at Jomo Cosmos in SA‚ Bafana’s 2010 World Cup captain Mokoena went on to feature for Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth in England‚ KRC Genk in Belgium‚ Ajax Cape Town in Netherlands and Bayer Leverkusen in Germany.

“I’ve always felt that Cape Town is like Europe and I’ve been in Europe for half of my life‚” said Mokoena when accepting the City challenge.

“I’m from the dusty streets and I’ve played amateur football in Boipatong [in Johannesburg] and I ended up being the most capped footballer in the history of SA football [107].”

Mokoena said his assignment at City will not end on the field of play‚ but will also be to assist the young talent at the Citizens to fulfil their dreams of playing in Europe.

The ex-defender reunites with Olde Riekerink‚ who was a youth coach at Ajax Amsterdam when Mokoena turned out there in the early 2000s.

“It’s not easy to play abroad. One thing that’s frustrating is not to play and that’s why you find a lot of South African players coming back. I would love to guide them when that move appears‚” Mokoena said.

“Coming to join such a big club such as City and the relationship I had with my ex-coach Olde Riekerink back in my days with Ajax Amsterdam‚ it makes me already feel at home.”

Mokoena’s will be hoping to help City overcome an unbeaten Swallows who are on top form and shape after their promotion to the big time from GladAfrica Championship at the end of last season.

City will be encouraged by the fact they’re not far off Swallows in the Premiership standings‚ sitting in the fourth spot after winning four‚ drawing three and losing one in their eight outings to remain six points behind pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns.