Highly-rated Cape Town City teen Luphumlo Sifumba has been named among the world's best young talents by the Guardian.
Born in Philippi, Cape Town, 17-year-old midfielder Luphumlo Sifumba has emerged as one of South Africa's most promising young players at local side Cape Town City where his performances in the club's development ranks, and his rapid progression to the first team have caught the eye both locally and abroad.
While Sifumba is yet to make his senior debut for the Citizens, he has been training with the senior side since the age of 15 and also featured at the inaugural edition of DStv Compact Cup last year, where he scored for the Coastal United franchise in the 3-0 semi-final win over Dinaledi FC.
He then made history in June when be became the first South African footballer to sign with international sports agency Roc Nation and has now garnered further recognition abroad after being named among the 60 best young talents in world football by The Guardian.
"It's very exciting," Cape Town City Cape Town City head of development Grant Veitch tells KickOff. "I think it shows the recent focus from the club on youth and in trying to fast-track these players, and highlights what we've got in Cape Town and in South Africa.
"These players need to go abroad as soon as possible. When they are 18 years old they need to try and get to a great, next development club in Europe."
On Sifumba's qualities and first-team prospects this season, Veitch added, "It's quite a stop-start season with the World Cup, so we're hoping to see, most likely after the World Cup, him making strides and getting minutes in the first team and developing as a footballer. He's a very exciting player, he has an amazing passing range, an amazing level of game intelligence.
"He also has special qualities to him that can change the game, be it a key pass or a goal. He's been playing as a No. 10 in the Diski side but also can operate as a No. 8, and a few international scouts who have come down to watch him have said that he is a Naby Keita-esque player.
"The most amazing part about him is how humble and hard-working, diligent and conscientious a player he is, that he wants to keep on improving with all the media hype around him that has followed him for the last year or so. He's a young kid from Philippi and I think he's handled all of that well."
Sifumba is the sixth South African to feature on the prestigious list, which has been published annually since 2014, and follows in the footsteps of Fagrie Lakay, Liam Jordan, Shungu Dutiro, Lyle Foster and Augustine Mahlonoko who were all featured as stars for the future during the early stages of their respective careers.
Lakay, then of Santos, has since moved on to play in Egypt for Zamalek after spells with SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and City while Jordan, then of Bidvest Wits is now in Denmark with Helsingø. His former youth teammate Dutiro was last seen in the development ranks of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Meanwhile, Foster, a graduate of Orlando Pirates' academy, is excelling with Westerlo in the Belgian top flight after previous spells in France and Portugal, while Mahlonoko, the Buccaneers' youngest-ever player, is now on the books of second division side La Masia.