Ngcobo Headed Out The Chiefs Door?

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 09: Njabulo Ngcobo of Kaizer Chiefs  during the DStv Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium on August 09, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 09: Njabulo Ngcobo of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium on August 09, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

He joined Kaizer Chiefs as the league’s 2020/21 Defender of the Season, but Njabulo Ngcobo’s career has gone backwards since he walked into the Naturena Village gates. The defender has gone from being a Bafana Bafana defender to fringe player in less than two seasons and it does not look like his situation at the club will improve, as it’s understood that he is not in the plans of head coach Arthur Zwane, who has consistently used the likes of Edmilson Dove, Zitha Kwinika and Siyabonga Ngezana in defence. Soccer Laduma looks into Ngcobo’s situation at the Soweto giants, with a possible exit on the cards.

What the Siya crew has been told…

With just two months left before the end of the season, Kaizer Chiefs defender Njabulo Ngcobo will get to know what the next step in his career is, with a strong possibility that he could leave Naturena after a difficult period with the club. The Siya crew has been made to believe that management are set to deliberate over the future of the former Swallows FC player, with sporting director Kaizer Motaung Jnr understood to be the one who will make the final call regarding the future of the 28-year-old. According to information received by this publication, the big defender, who has gone from winning the DStv Premiership Defender of the Season to becoming a fringe player at the Soweto giants, may not form part of the plans of head coach Arthur Zwane beyond the current season, with the side expected to go into the market to yet again try to put together a side capable of challenging for the biggest prize in South African football – the league title. Ngcobo, whose contract at the club is due to expire in June 2024, has made just nine appearances in all competitions, featuring in the starting line-up on four occasions, and has lost his place in the Bafana Bafana squad, a far cry from when he was one of the regulars in the early stages of Hugo Broos’ tenure. He’s played just one minute of competitive football in 2023, when he came on as an extra-time substitute in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 clash against Maritzburg United, and there is little chance of him getting to play much before the end of the campaign. Chiefs signed Zitha Kwinika and Edmilson Dove this season and Ngcobo moved down the pecking order. As things stand, the Soweto giants have secured the services of Thatayaone Ditlhokwe on a pre-contract from SuperSport United, having missed out on signing Luke Fleurs from the same club. They are understood to also be looking at the possibility of signing Given Msimango from TS Galaxy, who are open to selling their captain at the right price, as reported by Soccer Laduma last week. One of the big concerns at the Glamour Boys is that, from the time he arrived, the 28-year-old has not been able to take his game to the next level. Ngcobo loves playing from the back, but the Siya crew has been informed that there are concerns at times over his lax approach to the game, which can lead to errors at the back, as it did last season when Amakhosi were beaten 2-1 by Golden Arrows. The defender was taken off by then interim coach Zwane, but showed his displeasure by not acknowledging a handshake from his mentor. Efforts by then goalkeeper coach Lee Baxter to quell the situation were met with a stern show of rejection by the former Swallows FC man. Stuart Baxter had just left Chiefs at the time and the Brit was not always convinced that Ngcobo was the right man to play in defence, but the player’s actions against Arrows then made things even more difficult, as is currently evident now with gametime hard to come by. Amakhosi will make a call on the player’s future, with the possibility of an exit. They could put the player on the transfer market to allow interested clubs to make an offer for the Folweni-born star, but a mutual separation has not been ruled out, to allow him to leave as a free agent. A loan move is also not ruled out at this stage, to give Ngcobo an opportunity to prove himself elsewhere before a decision is made on whether to extend his contract or not. The Siya crew understands that Ngcobo would not completely rule out an exit at Naturena and there would be no shortage of interest in his services. It’s believed that there would need to be a serious change in the situation before the end of the season for the player to stay at the club beyond the end of this season. “His situation is a tough one and the technical team has been concerned that his game has not improved much, and he can be too casual with his play. I don’t know if he will stay,” a source told Soccer Laduma. 

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