Is Luther Singh the next great South Africa soccer star?
Luther Singh has flown largely under the radar in South African football circles having never played in the Premier Soccer League.
But the player is hoping that the exposure he gains from competing at the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships wins over the national team coaches.
He had hoped to be part of the Under-23 side that competed at the Olympic Games in August‚ but playing at GAIS in the second tier in Sweden meant his performances were not deemed noteworthy.
In Sweden they certainly know the player he is‚ and having been termed “far too good” for that level of football is now destined for one of the big leagues in Europe.
Singh is mum on his next move‚ except to say he expects to leave GAIS when his contract ends this month‚ despite being offered a new one.
But reports in Portugal have strongly linked him with Bongani Zungu’s Vitoria Guimaraes.
“I admire a lot of leagues‚” he said.
“Holland is a very good league. Germany‚ England‚ Portugal.
"I believe in myself and I think I can play in all of these leagues.
"I’m up for any challenge and just looking forward to next year‚ to playing in a good league and at a good club.”
He has looked lively and accomplished in the COSAFA junior tournament so far‚ scoring from the spot against Lesotho in a thumping 8-0 win and putting in a good shift in a 1-0 success over Swaziland.
He has pace‚ can run with the ball at his feet and has no shortage of confidence‚ instilled in him by Stars of Africa Academy head Farouk Khan.
Singh‚ born in Noordgesig in Soweto‚ was signed to the academy at the age of 11‚ well below the usual age for intakes.
But Khan saw something special in him.
“He has played a huge role in my life‚ he is my mentor‚” Singh says of Khan.
“We have like a father-son relationship.
"He has instilled great values in me and assured me that if I work hard‚ good things will come my way.”
Khan sent Singh‚ and his great friend Pule Maraisane‚ to Brazil for three months in 2013 where Singh trained in a style of football perfectly suited to his game.
“I trained at Vasco da Gama and Fluminense‚ two massive clubs there.
It was a very good experience to see the environment‚ the skill of the players and how they use it‚ and how seriously they take being a professional and developing young players.”
Singh can play across the attacking line‚ but has been used more centrally by GAIS.
For the national Under-20s he has so far appeared on the left-wing.
“I can play on the right or left-wings.
"I am lucky in that I can use either foot‚” he says.
“But this season I have played as a number 10‚ or a forward‚ and the move has been really good for me.
“Last year [as a winger] I only scored two goals‚ but this year I had nine‚ so I think it was a good switch from the [GAIS] technical team.
"But I also enjoy playing as a winger‚ taking players on and creating chances for teammates. I like that.”
Singh will be next in action for Amajita on Monday when they take on Botswana in what is now a dead rubber as South Africa have already booked their place in the semifinals.
That means at least two more games for the side‚ and two further chances for Singh to impress. - TMG Digital