For most young African footballers, the dream of playing in one of Europe’s top leagues often never materialized. For some lucky to graduate from one of the many development schools across Africa, the transition proves too much with only a few ever succeeding. However a young batch of players has started to surface in leagues across Europe, all with promising futures ahead of them. One such prospect is 20-year-old, Ayanda Patosi. The South African born midfielder started his career playing for a variety of youth teams in his native Cape Town including Mighty United, Vasco da Gama and FC Cape Town before getting his break with ASD Cape Town.
ASD is dedicated to helping young footballers achieve their potential by sourcing, developing and placing into the worldwide professional game. To do this, they organised trips to Europe to play against youth sides in a variety of different leagues such as France, Belgium, Holland and Denmark. On one such trip to Belguim, Ayanda Patosi caught the eye of a various clubs, with K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen (or Sporting Lokeren as they are better known) eventually winning his signature and signing the 18-year-old on a four-year deal. It didn’t take long for Patosi to settle in to his new club, making his debut shortly after joining the club and scoring his first goal a month later. In his first season, the central midfielder starred as a bit part player, helping his club to its first Belgian Cup victory, after beating KV Kortrijk in the final.
This season, Patosi has forced his way into the first team on a more permanent basis and is starting to shine, scoring 6 times in his first 13 games. An all round player with a superb first touch and eye for the goal, showcased his skills in last Friday’s match against Standard Leige. Leading 1-0 at half time, Lokeren – performing well this season, started the second half as they had ended the first. After some good interplay, Tunisian striker, Hamdi Harbaoui picked up the ball and played a clever one two with midfielder Enes Saglik. On receiving the ball back, Harbaoui controlled the ball on his chest with his back to goal, flicked it up to himself, before chipping the ball out the left where Patosi was hovering just inside the area. Patosi watched the ball drop to his foot before volleying the ball into the far corner past a stranded Kawashima in the Leige goal.
Lokeren held on to win the match, despite conceding a late goal, to move up to 4th in the league. For Patosi, it was another match performance to be proud of and if his form continues for the rest of this season, it may not be long before Europe’s bigger clubs come to check out Africa’s latest teen sensation. ASD founder Mike Steptoe is in no doubt that Patosi will be gracing a bigger stage in the near future:
“He is very technically gifted and can play anywhere in the middle or up front. Ayanda could be the biggest thing ever to come out of South Africa”
To watch his goal, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zzsIiYoc4Y