Bafana starlet Luther Singh has sights on Olympic glory

Luther Singh of South Africa during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Namibia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Rustenburg, South Africa.Bafana Bafana returns to the field for the first time this year hosting neighbours Namibia post Covid 19 sport regulations in South Africa.
Luther Singh of South Africa during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Namibia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Rustenburg, South Africa.Bafana Bafana returns to the field for the first time this year hosting neighbours Namibia post Covid 19 sport regulations in South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Luther Singh might have scored his third senior international goal for Bafana Bafana against Namibia on Thursday‚ but it is on the Olympics and his final step in junior football that the 23-year-old has his focus going into 2021.

The forward’s early strike in Bafana’s 1-1 draw against the Brave Warriors is likely to see him earn another start in the coach Molefi Ntseki’s combination for the second friendly‚ also at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg‚ against Zambia on Sunday (kickoff 3pm).

Singh’s strike against Namibia has been spoken of in the media as his first senior strike‚ but that seems a grey area.

He scored two goals in the 2019 Cosafa Cup in Durban for shadow Under-23 team sent to that competition under David Notoane‚ while the official senior team prepared in Johannesburg for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals under Stuart Baxter.

However Cosafa Cup matches are considered Fifa A internationals‚ and Singh’s goals there will have been recorded as such by the global body.

The Stars of Africa academy product’s career trajectory has been on a firmer footing since owning club Sporting Braga have been loaning the emerging forward‚ who plays mostly as a winger in Portugal‚ out for the past two seasons‚ allowing for Primeira Liga match time and a progression in his game.

Singh knows that turning out on a global showpiece stage at the Tokyo Olympics – postponed from July and August this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic to July and August next year – can boost his career even further.

“For me personally it’s a dream come true for us to go to the Olympics‚ and also a dream come true to be part of the team that is going there‚ and the team that qualified for the Olympics‚” he said.

“I feel it’s very important for me at my age as well because it’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world‚ and every footballer would like to participate in the tournament.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do that and I feel like it’s been an important year [in 2020] and next year will be even more important.”

Singh’s loan spells have seen him earning top-flight experience in Portugal‚ with perhaps just a higher return in goals still lacking for the player.

In 2018-19 Singh was ever-present playing 15 games and scoring twice being loaned to Chaves in the second half of the season‚ and last season he turned out 21 times and scored three goals for a bigger club‚ Moreirense‚ who finished eighth in the 18-team top-flight.

This season the forward has played all three league games as last campaign’s 13th-placed finishers Pacos de Ferreira have started with a draw and two defeats.

“The season just started‚ it’s started well. I would like to score as many goals as I can and for the team to have a better position in the league. That’s my short-term goal with the team‚” he said.

This month’s two friendlies mark South Africa’s return to football after 11 months inactive due to Covid-19 ‚ and serve as preparation for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe.

- TimesLIVE



Source: ARENA Holdings.

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