South African youngster Ayanda Patosi continues to excel in Belgium
Ayanda Patosi’s excellent form in Belgium for Lokeren has heightened his chances of winning a first Bafana Bafana call-up for the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash with Zambia on November 14.
The South African attacking midfielder, who turns 20 tomorrow, has been a revelation for Lokeren this season since being handed a regular start by manager Peter Maes.
He has scored three goals in 12 starts, but it is also his general play that has been so impressive on the left-hand side of midfield.
It is a position that Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is desperate to find depth in. Current incumbent Siphiwe Tshabalala is seen as a superstar of the national team, but his performance for South Africa since the 2010 FIFA World Cup have been below par.
Some of that may be due to complacency, with no-one emerging to rival him for a starting place.
But the exciting Patosi, who joined Lokeren in June 2011 from the ASD Academy in Cape Town, could finally give Igesund a viable option.
The youngster, who can also play on the right or behind the strikers, could also be useful in the roles vacated by Steven Pienaar and Thulani Serero through retirement and injury respectively.
Although Patosi has no experience at international level with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, he has shown that he is a quick learner in Belgium.
Lokeren recently tied him down to a new five-year contract that will keep him at the club until 2017, but it would seem highly unlikely that he will see out that period with bigger clubs in Belgium and the rest of Europe all keeping close tabs on him.