Comparison with legend thrills Swallows' defensive ace

'New OJ' determined to fly high with Birds

Neville Khoza Journalist
Njabulo Ngcobo of Swallows FC during the DStv Premiership match between SuperSport United and Swallows FC at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on January 30, 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Njabulo Ngcobo of Swallows FC during the DStv Premiership match between SuperSport United and Swallows FC at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on January 30, 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Being compared to Mbulelo “OJ” Mabizela is what motivates Swallows defender Njabulo Ngcobo to work hard.

The Swallows centre-back has been outstanding in their surprising run in the DStv Premiership this season.

The 26-year-old has ensured that the club have the second-best defensive record in the league. They have conceded just nine goals in 15 matches, behind only Mamelodi Sundowns, who have conceded seven. 

And many believe he has the potential to emulate Mabizela.

 “Although I am happy about my current form, in life there is always a need to improve as a person,” Ngcobo said.

“This is my first season, and I think I am on the right track. I’m new and not used to this atmosphere but it excites me to see people complimenting the way I play. Some of them even said they want to see me playing for the national team in the future.”

Asked how he handles the hype and when people say he deserves to be a contender for the defender of the season award, the former Richards Bay, Uthongathi and AmaZulu defender said it inspires him.

“To hear those words is a blessing to me. In life, you should not store things in your mind that have not yet happened.

“I think you only have to work very hard until you reach your destiny. It encourages me to hear people nominating me for defender of the season. What is important for me is to work diligently. If I do so, I think I will achieve that.

“To be compared with Mabizela makes me happy even though I did not watch him play because I grew up in a rural area where there was no television. I don’t even have his image.”

Ngcobo and his teammates hope to continue their good run when they meet Cape Town City away on Sunday in a league match.

Fixtures

Tomorrow: Chiefs v SuperSport, FNB Stadium (3pm); Chippa United v T S Galaxy, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (3.30pm); Baroka v Leopards, Peter Mokaba Stadium (5pm)

Sunday: Tshakhuma v Stellenbosch, Peter Mokaba Stadium (3.30pm); Cape Town City v Swallows, Cape Town Stadium (3.30pm)

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