Some football fanatics were caught off-guard at the weekend as Cape Town Spurs (formerly Ajax Cape Town) announced the departure of one of its brightest young talents, Bongolwethu Siyazi.
It was announced that the club and the 19-year-old parted ways through mutual agreement.
The South African junior international, nicknamed Tyson after Bafana Bafana skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo, was promoted to the first team by the side’s then Dutch coach Adries Ulderink, in 2019 before making his National First Division (NFD) debut against Free State Stars, at Athlone Stadium, the same year.
Things looked bright for the highly-talented teenager as he went on to make a number of appearances for the Urban Warriors before the departure of the Dutch mentor.
He struggled for game time under the new coach Calvin Marlin as the Parow-based outfit was involved in a tough battle for promotion to the PSL.
The side eventually lost out on the spot to the current PSL campaign after a less-than convincing showing in the promotion/relegation play-offs.
Despite rarely featuring in the NFD for Ajax, since the arrival of Marlin, the youngster from Khayelitsha continued to make his mark on the international stage.
Siyazi made his South African national under-17 debut in 2019 when his side played to a goalless draw against Lesotho, under the mentorship of the current Bafana Bafana coach, Molefi Ntseki. He has been part of the junior set up ever-since.
The utility back was impressive for Ajax juniors too, prompting Ulderink to promote him to the first team, despite his age.
He captained their under-17 and under-19 sides during the Engen Knockout Challenge and the Bayhill Premier Cup respectively.
And, as if that is not enough, he was part of the Ajax junior side that toured Holland and Germany in 2018. They came second in the Terborg tournament (in Holland), after losing to Brazilian giants Palmeiras in the final.
Siyasi, who was groomed at Khayelitsha-based Chumisa FC, comes with loads of experience, despite his age.
He joined the Urban Warriors’ under-12 side in 2014, after he turned out for his previous team, YBC FC, in a friendly match against Ajax.
Despite going down 11-1, Bongolwethu scored his side’s solitary goal, and impressed the Ajax talent spotters enough for them to grab his details.
He was called up for trials with the Parow side and made the cut out of more than 600 players. He describes himself as a player who always wants more, when it comes to football.
“People regard me as a hard-tackling defender. That’s my nature, because I give my all, whether it’s practice or game time. That is also why I want to play in Europe in the near future. I don’t mind playing in the PSL for one season or two but my ultimate goal is Europe, and then Bafana Bafana,” he said.
“I have learnt a lot at Ajax recently, Cape Town Spurs. The experience I have gained over the years will serve me well going forward. I know it is not going to be easy, but I just have to continue working hard.”
At Ajax, the youngster didn’t only learn about football, they taught him important life lessons too.
He was part of Ajax’s well-known Lambda School, under the mentorship of the legendary Duncan Crowie. The school selects a group of youngsters, and teaching them different life skills, including how to handle themselves off the field.
“When I first came to Lambda, for instance, I was a little shy. There they introduced me to public speaking and how to handle myself when speaking in front of many people,” he said.
For now, the youngster is keeping busy, with the hope of getting a new home soon.