Bossing the midfield

Tshepo Kehimile

A conversation about world-class central defensive midfielders (CDM) conjures up images of the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Claude Makelele and N’Golo Kante just to mention a few.

These individuals aforementioned are famously known for cutting all the balls which threaten their defences and spreading those telling passes from that deeper lying role.

Much closer to home, Township Rollers’s talented lad- Phenyo Serameng, 25, seems to be following on the footsteps of these internationally acclaimed giants with the impressive ball control and distribution skills he has displayed this season even though he started his football career as a winger.

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Serameng has played 16 matches as a CDM and sometimes being deployed in the attacking position in 20 outings for Popa this season.

In an interview with Voice Sport this week, The Metsimotlhabe-born lad said his passion to become a professional football player began when was still at primary school.

“My love for football started when I was at primary school. I used to play 5-aside with a ball made from plastic bags with my friends. I was a great dribbler, then I went on to play for Notwane FC development (Under 15 and 17) then Black Ace Corinthians Academy. I decided to register for a blue book at my home village team called MESC which competed at Kweneng Regional Division 1, playing interchangeably in both wings as a youngster. I was quickly spotted by BDF XI who acquired my services back in 2016,” he said.

Serameng revealed how his first experience in a different set-up (elite league) was like, while he was still a teenager.

“It was my first time playing in the elite league; it was not easy when I arrived as I was young but I settled in very well as senior players motivated me to relax and enjoy football.

TOP TALENT: Phenyo Serameng

It was a great feeling to finally achieve my dreams which was to play in a professional set-up and BDF XI ensured that by giving me a chance to play.

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Moreover, 2019 became the best highlight of my career so far as I was snatched by Rollers which is one of the best clubs in the country and is star-studded,” revealed Serameng.

Serameng who grew up modelling his style of play around that of Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele said his immediate arrival at Blue Army was coupled with a bit of transformation in his play due to his work rate.

“I arrived at Rollers playing as a winger. Nikola Kavazovic who was the mentor at that time converted me into a midfielder looking at the work rate I put in during training every day.

I accepted the challenge even though there were so many great players in the midfield. I stood firm and believed that I could make it regardless of the stiff competition that I faced,” said Serameng.

Fast forward to 2021/22 season, Serameng is enjoying a bit of game-time ahead of seasoned stars such as Ofentse Nato, Maano Ditshupo and Kutlwelo Mpolokang in that deeper lying role as he dictates matters under the tutelage of new French gaffer Romain Folz.

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“I am not going to be carried away by my few good performances in that position this season because those players are my teammates. I am learning a lot from them but I want to continue working hard so that I can increase my chances of going abroad and helping the team win all available top honours and qualifying for the CAF Champions League games,” he said.

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