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Mosimane’s emotional farewell to Ngongca: ‘Against Wydad‚ Al Ahly‚ Esperance‚ play Anele’

04 December 2020 - 14:10 By Marc Strydom
Anele Ngcongca, 33, died in a car crash in northern KZN a week ago.
Anele Ngcongca, 33, died in a car crash in northern KZN a week ago.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane has paid an emotional farewell to his former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Anele Ngcongca‚ who died in a car crash in KwaZulu-Natal last week.

Mosimane had a relationship with Ngcongca that went back to when the then-Bafana assistant and his head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira travelled to watch the right-back’s first game for Genk in 2007. Ngcongca had never played in the South African Premier League‚ having been signed as a 19-year-old from First Division FC Fortune.

Mosimane signed Ngcongca to Sundowns in 2016‚ and the defender - who died in a crash on the N2 on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Monday‚ November 23 - won four league titles at the Brazilians.

“Ja‚ what a sad case. You know how I convinced Anele to come back to South Africa‚” Mosimane told a digital press conference with the SA Football Journalists Association.

“Because he was going through injuries. He was in France [for Troyes] but not playing‚ in Belgium‚ having injuries.

“But I could check him and watch his games [online]‚ and I said‚ ‘No‚ Anele is too good’.

“I used to check on Anele ahead of the [2010] World Cup. I used to travel to Belgium and watch him‚ and speak to Parreira‚ and say‚ ‘Hey‚ this boy will do well in the World Cup’. It’s big history.

“And we played him against France [in Bafana’s 2-1 World Cup win in Bloemfontein]‚ it’s unbelievable‚ against Franck Ribery - we never regretted it.

“You know‚ I have that relationship with Anele. He had never played Premier League in South Africa and I went to Belgium to fetch him‚ and I brought him to play for Mamelodi Sundowns.

“And when he came he was injured and out for about four months‚ and I was patient with him. And I mean‚ what a player.

“We used him at right-back instead of Thapelo Morena in the big Champions League games. Local games‚ attack a lot‚ play Morena; when you want to wrap the game quickly‚ play Morena. Against Wydad‚ Al Ahly‚ Esperance‚ all those big games‚ we used Anele. Experience.

“He told Thapelo‚ ‘This is what you do at right-back‚ this is how you play right-back’. Not a competitor. One of those guys who says‚ ‘I need to take the jersey at the right place.’

“He used to be part of my dressing room - Wayne Arendse‚ [Tiyani] ‘Sugar’ Mabunda‚ Hlompho Kekana‚ Denis Onyango‚ the big boys‚ they kept it quiet.

“And‚ ja‚ to lose him like that - young guy.”

Mosimane took a deeper breath‚ and half-paused‚ controlling emotions‚ eyes wetting.

“Ja‚ it’s very sad for me. He was in KZN. I don’t think he would have been playing for AmaZulu if I was the Sundowns coach.”

Ngcongca (33) was in KwaZulu-Natal to conclude his loan deal to AmaZulu. He won a league title (in 2010-11) and three cups in a hugely successful nine years in Belgium‚ then played a season on loan at Troyes in France before joining Sundowns. He played 53 times for Bafana.

Mosimane left Sundowns in a bombshell to SA football in early October‚ and clinched his second Caf Champions League winner’s medal when Ahly beat Zamalek 2-1 in Friday night’s final.