FORMER Bay United and Blackburn Rovers star Zukisani “Eddie” Ngalo’s presence at Safa-NMB SAB League side Young Ideas has proved to be a major success.
The Motherwell side are on top of the log, five points clear of Lion City and unbeaten in 17 games since Ngalo joined their ranks.
“We got him [Ngalo] at the right time,” Ideas coach Bulelani Fina said.
“He has brought some stability both in front and at the back because of his experience. He has guarded the boys when it comes to taking responsibility on the field. Eddie is the leader in the team, even though he is not wearing the [captain’s] armband.”
Ngalo is described by Fina as someone who is easy to talk to.
“He is one of the senior players in our team. He gets along with everyone, including the youngsters. Eddie doesn’t underestimate other players.
“The youngsters learn a lot from him,” Fina said.
Ngalo said he planned on helping Ideas to get promoted to the higher league.
“Once the club enters the ABC Motsepe League, I will hang up my boots and work behind the scenes. You never know, maybe I’ll end up as the coach one day,” Ngalo said.
The 27-year-old kicked off his soccer career aged 16 while playing for Tomorrows Stars under-17s, a Motherwell Local Football Association club.
“In 2000 I was promoted to the senior team. The following year I played for PE Technikon where I stayed for three seasons,” Ngalo said.
He then joined Bay Academy in 2004 before moving to play for Matatiele Professionals in 2006.
“I only spent half of the season with Professionals before moving to Mthatha Liverpool, who were in the Vodacom League at the time.
“During the December pre-season of 2011, I received a call from David Bright, who was the coach of Bay United at the time,” he said.
The Motherwell-born midfielder only spent one season with the club. When United moved to Polokwane, at the end of the season, he was approached by Blackburn Rovers.
At the time the club was based in East London and contesting the National First Division title.
“After spending two seasons with Blackburn, my contract was not renewed. I then joined Mthatha Bucks in the Vodacom League, [now known as the ABC Motsepe League] last year before ending up here at Young Ideas.”
Outside of football, Ngalo is studying engineering at Midlands College.
“It’s a challenge because I sometimes come back from school very late.”