Bhengu announces his arrival
Move over Benni McCarthy, Moroka Swallows have uncovered a raw diamond ready to fill your boots in 2010.
Durban born teenager Phumelele “Ace” Bhengu announced his arrival in South Africa soccer when the newly promoted Birds striker scored two well-taken goals to sink Kaizer Chiefs in a hard-fought Absa Premiership Soweto derby played at Rustenburg’s Olympia Park on Sunday.
Bhengu has already impressed Birds Brazil-born coach Julio Cesar Leal and assistant coach Zeca Marques with his skills and potential. And after scoring both goals in the 2-0 defeat of Amakhosi, Bhengu showed that the faith the Swallows technical team has in him was well placed.
At 18 years old he could be the answer to Bafana Bafana prayers with 2010 just around the corner.
Said Bhengu: “I could not believe I had scored two goals against Chiefs.
It was a dream come true.
This is what I love doing—scoring goals.”
Bhengu left his home city of Durban in 2003 to join the Swallows academy. He has played for the Birds at under-15, under-17 and under-19 level and now he looks set to establish himself in the senior side alongside experienced striker David Radebe, who laid on both goals for the budding teenage star.
Bhengu could have had a hat-trick but for a fine second-half save by Chiefs overworked keeper Itumeleng Khune. Once again that pass was laid on by Radebe, who also played a blinder against his old club on Sunday.
Said Bhengu: “I enjoy playing with David [Radebe]. He is teaching me a lot and helping me with his experience. I have formed a good understanding with him.”
Bhengu is straight forward about his goals and his future: “This season I want to finish as the league’s top goal scorer. I have made a good start and hope to continue from here. But I need to establish myself as a regular in the first team and for that I am prepared to work as hard as it takes. I am ambitious and want to succeed as a top striker.”
Bhengu is eyeing playing in Europe but, unlike most South African youngsters, he does not see the English Premiership as his target.
Said Bhengu: “My biggest goal would be to play in Spain for Barcelona. I am working on that and like everything before with the youth team, I intend succeeding.”
Marques said the youngster’s goals are not far fetched. “Bhengu has talent and skill. He is also down to earth and humble. And most importantly he is willing to listen and learn. I reckon he could become the league’s top striker and yes, playing in Europe could become a reality in the not so distant future.”
But Marques said Bhengu needs to develop physically: “He has the attributes but needs to get stronger physically. I am sure with the right food and training he will develop into a class striker. Today [Sunday] he passed a huge test. Playing in a Soweto Derby against Chiefs for the first time could give any player stage fright.
“But Bhengu looked like he had been doing it for years. Even I was impressed by the way he took his goals and showed little respect for the more experienced Chiefs defenders. This kid has his head screwed on the right way and we are going to hear a lot more from him.”—Sapa