Introducing: Ayanda Nkosi, Maritzburg’s young gem

Maritzburg United have made it their habit to uncover and then unleash exciting and unknown new talents onto the Premier Soccer League stage.

The club have in the past discovered exciting players such as Onismor Bhasera, Kulegani Madondo, Mor Diouf, Rudolf Bester and Cuthbert Malajila.

But while most of those players have been snapped up from across Africa, the Team of Choice didn’t have to go too far to find their next potential star, signing up exciting young striker Ayanda Nkosi from the University of Johannesburg.

The player scored on his home debut against Black Aces, and while having been used sparingly since then, there is no doubt he exhibits all the traits of a top class marksman: pace, strength, finishing and the ability to hold up the ball up and bring team-mates into play.

He’ll have to work hard to find the consistency needed to be a successful front man, but considering how far he has come in an incredibly short space of time, Nkosi has great potential.

Just a year ago, the 20-year-old had no idea what was in store for him as he focussed on his a BComm in Economics and Econometric. at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

“The coach (former Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp) heard that UJ were making waves in the University league and so he came down to have a look,” he explained.

“He saw some potential in me and I was invited down for trials last July. I had always dreamed of playing in the PSL. But I didn’t really think it was going to happen. “It was only just over a year ago that I was playing Res football at University – luckily the UJ head coach saw my potential and invited me to train with the first team.

“I had never been on trial anywhere else - at high school I never really took football seriously and only started playing last January,” he added.

Nkosi’s first taste of the big time was as big as it can get – he found himself in the match day squad for the game against Kaizer Chiefs earlier this season.

He didn’t make it out onto the park, remaining on the bench, but was nevertheless thrilled to be part of the occasion, and absorbed as much as he could from the experience.

“It was a big step up, a huge step from university football to playing in the PSL. In the PSL it’s a mental game. Things happen very quickly, you have to be thinking ahead of your opponents and making very quick decisions.

“My first game I made the squad was against Kaizer Chiefs. And while I never came off the bench, I was able to observe, to learn how things work in the PSL and that made it easier for me when I made my debut against Aces.”