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Sphephelo Sithole: Bafana Midfielder Speaks on Setbacks and Obstacles in Securing Move to Europe
- Sphephelo Sithole encountered a myriad of hurdles before securing a move to Europe
- The 24-year-old midfielder signed for Portuguese Liga 2 outfit CD Tondela in August 2023
- The Bafana Bafana star has scored two goals and made two assists in 17 appearances for the club
South Africa midfielder, Sphephelo Sithole, has disclosed the hurdles he faced in securing a move to Europe.
Sithole burst onto the international scene with his debut for Bafana Bafana against Morocco in September 2022.
Despite a promising start, Yaya's aspirations for a European move were thwarted, despite interest from the Bundesliga and the Ligue 1, due to complications with his former club's demands.
"There’s a lot of stories behind that, everybody knows I was in the first division when I was 21, 22, and then I think things didn’t happen for me then. I had offers, but the club I was playing for before, wanted a lot of money," said Sithole, as quoted on iDiski Times.
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Sithole made his professional debut with Belenenses SAD in the Primeira Liga against Braga on July 15, 2020.
Following the club's relegation from the Liga Portugal 2, Sithole signed a two-year contract with Tondela. There, he has since showcased his talents, contributing two goals and two assists in 17 appearances in the current season.
Sithole AFCON 2023 partnership with Mokoena
Sithole also reflected on his experience at the 2023 AFCON, highlighting the challenges faced and partnerships forged during the tournament in Abidjan.
Despite initial struggles, he and Teboho Mokoena played pivotal roles in securing South Africa's third-place finish, marking a significant achievement for the nation after a long absence from the podium.
Speaking of his partnership with Mokoena, Sithole stressed their complementary playing styles, with himself as a holding midfielder and the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder driving the team forward.
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He lauded the 'Brazilian', recognizing his skill and character off the pitch while expressing certainty in his ability to thrive abroad.
Additionally, he explored the chemistry between their playing styles and coach Hugo Broos' strategies, highlighting their adaptability to various positions on the field.
“I think in terms of quality, we have similar qualities. I can play as a box-to-box and him as well can play box-to-box. He can also play as a 6 and 8,” he said, as reported by Far Post.
The player remains optimistic about future opportunities following an impressive performance in Ivory Coast.
Sithole identifies his toughest AFCON opponent
Sports Brief previously reported when Sithole disclosed his toughest AFCON 2023 opponent.
He pinpointed RB Leipzig and Mali midfielder Amadou Haidara of Mali as his most formidable adversary.
Haidara's prowess both with and without the ball, added to his physical and mental strength brought the best out of Éric Sékou Chelle's side.