Tue Sep 26 07:43:55 SAST 2017

Wasted talent

2012-12-16 20:55:51.0 | LOUIS MAZIBUKO |

ONCE more for Mark Mayambela, the curtain that comes down on 2012 is not falling fast enough.

This has been annus horribilis - the worst year ever - for the crowd favourite Orlando Pirates' midfielder.

With a left foot that is aptly described as "educated", Mayambela has had to watch from the sidelines as less gifted players made it into the line-up ahead of him.

This is the last thing the football gods could wish on talent such as his. Mayambela has a talent other footballers could kill for.

Talk is that he will soon find a home with one of the top three clubs in the PSL.

Meantime, he must be wondering what he has to do to impress new coach Roger de Sa.

He made his last appearance for Pirates in the Carling Black Label tournament.

He has since watched miserably from the stands - a classic case of talent laid to waste.

But he's not the only one wishing for a miracle to happen and 2012 to be erased from the collective football memory.

The long list includes:

One of the country's most gifted goalkeepers, Emile Baron, must have forgotten when he last played for his team, Bidvest Wits.

The keeper, whose career was almost blighted by injuries, is probably toying with the idea of hanging up his boots as he's not getting any younger.

This incredibly talented 'keeper has plied his trade abroad and played for Kaizer Chiefs, where he had two great seasons.

Not much has been heard of striker Terror Fanteni since he moved from Ajax Cape Town to Gauteng to play for Wits.

His hopes of playing for Bafana Bafana have since become a distant memory.

Bucs keeper Moeneeb Josephs should be praying to see the back of this year.

He was devastated when he bombed out of the national team but was back in the reckoning after a little pow-wow with coach Gordon Igesund.

He suddenly lost his place at Pirates and was replaced by Senzo Meyiwa, who was also chosen ahead of him for the Bafana goalkeeping berth.

Ajax Cape Town have been watching these developments with a keen eye.

Up-and-coming Bucs striker Bongani Ndulula might never get a chance to develop properly. He hasn't seen much game time this year.

It won't come as a surprise if defender Robin Johannes asks to be placed on transfer.

He had a fairly good time at Golden Arrows, where he was on loan from Pirates.

But his dreams were shattered when he rejoined Pirates - only to find himself watching his colleagues from the terraces every week.

Onyekachi Okonkwo will consider himself lucky if he is retained by Pirates. Reports have it that his temper gets the better of him.

Abia Nale must be one of the most unhappy players at Naturena. He had the same problem during Vladimir Vermezovic's tenure - of not getting a chance to showcase his talents.

There was hope that he would at long last find game time under new coach Stuart Baxter.

Mandla Masango and Sithembiso Ngcobo are some of the disillusioned faces at the Chiefs camp.

Even newcomers are chosen ahead of them.

At Mamelodi Sundowns, Elias Pelembe would not be blamed for saying "good riddance" to 2012. He heaved a great sigh of relief when new coach Pitso Mosimane joined Sundowns recently.

Insiders say Pelembe did not fit in with Johan Neeskens' system of play.

Another talented star, Thamsanqa Sangweni, was relegated to the stands by Neeskens. He should be playing regularly.

Gifted star forward Erwin Isaacs' career is in limbo.

He left relegated Santos to join Wits, but suddenly decided to go home to Cape Town.

Pint-sized Moroka Swallows forward Joseph Makhanya wouldn't say with a clear conscience that he enjoyed himself this year.

Injuries kept David Mathebula out of action.

Luck seems to have deserted highly skilled University of Pretoria star player Speke Manamela, who was also plagued by injuries this year.

Another talent that went to waste is that of Clifford Ngobeni at Lamontville Golden Arrows where he is kicking his heels.

Ngobeni should be counting days of the expiry of his contract at Arrows and return to Pirates where he earned rave reviews.

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