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Sundowns vs Cape Town City: Was Ngoma ever ready for the big stage?

07:47 BST 20/08/2019
Aubrey Ngoma of Mamelodi Sundowns
Ngoma has struggled ever since he jumped ship to Masandawana from the Citizens, but where has it all gone wrong?

Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City is a fledgeling rivalry that has tantalised the tastebuds of South African football fans since the Mother City-based outfit’s inception back in 2016.

This rivalry was sparked even further back when the City star Aubrey Ngoma was at the centre of a much talked about transfer to the Tshwane giants.

Ngoma was undoubtedly one of the league’s best players at the time, and even when Lebogang Manyama set sail for Turkey, he was expected to continue being the creative mastermind.

This showed in City’s reluctance to part ways with the midfielder as they accused Sundowns of allegedly tapping up the player. 

However, when a club such as Sundowns comes calling, it’s almost impossible to say no.

Ngoma eventually left the club and set sail for Chloorkop in January of 2018. But rather than the 29-year-old going on to steal the show, he has battled with injuries and failed to impress.

Since joining, Ngoma has made a total of nine appearances across all competitions for the Tshwane giants. 

This is a startling reminder of the challenges talented footballers face when arriving at big clubs.

While Ngoma cannot be blamed for his desire to move onto greener pastures, even he will admit the move was not the best in terms of his progression.

Right now, he should be at the peak of his powers, but he is in serious danger of becoming forgotten and had he stayed at City, who knows what could have become of the player.

The question though on everyone’s mind is whether or not Ngoma was ever ready for the big stage, and the answer is a lot more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Ngoma struggled at Orlando Pirates after an impressive season at the University of Pretoria, where he scored six league goals in 26 games, the fact is he was at the Soweto giants during a transitional period.

At the time, Pirates were coming off a major high with back-to-back trebles, and this made the pressure to continue winning all the more important.

Nonetheless, fast forward a few years, and at Sundowns, Ngoma faces similar challenges, but the issues here have been a lot different.

The attacker joined the club on the back of a long-term injury, and it seems he has lacked any sort of luck in this regard.

But when he eventually got onto the field, he has shown glimpses of what he can do.

The issue though is he faces stiff competition at the club, and with his injury woes, he has not been able to get a look in.


In addition, Ngoma’s track record does show he thrives in less pressurised environments and perhaps this explains his success at City, where he was one of the club’s most important players.

Ngoma has now been linked with a move away from the club with SuperSport United having openly been keen on his services, although they have since pulled out of a move due to financial constraints.

With Sundowns on the cusp of another game against City, Ngoma is unlikely to feature and a move should be sought after.

Ngoma is in danger of falling into the football wilderness, in the same way Mogakolodi Ngele and Cuthbert Malajila had done prior to their departures earlier in the season, and with the player quickly approaching the other side of 30, perhaps one last move in order to revive his career could be on the cards.