The Standout Inbetweener; Zlatan Ibrahimović | A Legend That Transcends Era’s

Zlatan(Auditions)Zlatan(G)

#TheHistorian

In an age where every generation seems to be blessed with its fair share of diversely gifted attacking talents, cut from a different cloth, and playing football with a grace that seems to constantly defy so many other lesser talented players; the most painful thing about hearing someone mention their top 5 best strikers of the last decade, is having to cringe at the constant omission of one name, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Zlatan is a true rebel in an age of conformists, a natural born striker capable of conjuring sheer magic with a football, or a piece of bubblegum.

The Zlatan can be said to have been largely unfortunate to have been doing such wonders at the end of the Raúl, Ronaldo, Alessandro Del Piero , Andriy Shevchenko, Samuel Eto’o, Michael Owen and Thierry Henry years; while his career also spanned into the dawn of another golden age, where the outrageous talents of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie, Sergio Agüero, David Villa, Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suárez have rightfully been the centre of all football related conversations in terms of premier level goalscorers and forwards. Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 62 goals, Zlatan deserves special mention for remaining true to his unique skill-set, and ensuring that his arrogance rather fuelled his drive, instead of it hampering the realisation of his unlimited potential; a league champion, and lethal marksman, in every country he has played in, all while having rejected the chance to trial for Arsenal with the lure of developing under the wing of legendary youth development expert Arsene Wenger as a teenager, rebuffing the offer with a simple statement, “No way, Zlatan doesn’t do auditions’, prior to signing for another club steeped in a culture of nurturing young talent, AFC Ajax.

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a man in a class all by himself, one I would never dare to compare to any player in any era, for obvious reasons; not enough will ever be written about one of the greatest strikers ever to play the game of football, which is saying quite a bit, when we consider all that has been writ about him since his teenage years. The legacy of the man can never be truly quantified in words, because “gratefully-enigmatic” and “gracefully-eclectic” do not begin to describe him in his entirety, his impressive career numbers, in various elite level leagues, would quickly be surpassed in the near future, when we look at the career trajectory of the Messi’s, Cristiano’s and Neymar’s of this world; yet a goal getter that became the first man to score for six different clubs in Europe’s most elite competition, the UEFA Champions League, while also having been on a streak of nine straight league title wins in three different countries, with four different clubs of high esteem, has to go down as a genuine legend of the game in both the era’s he thrived in.

The brilliance of Zlatan Ibrahimović, is that he managed to work himself into the history books of football in a time when world-class forwards were playing the beautiful game the way it ought to be played, beautifully; his ability to shine amongst such fierce competition is highly laudable, considering how he could easily have been the premier striker in a different age. Since his arrival at Ajax Amsterdam in 2001, as a promising young player, from Malmö FF in his country of birth, Sweden, Ibracadabra has woven his magic in the elite leagues of Europe terrorising defenders and ‘keepers alike, all while displaying his skills against some of the most lethal goal scorers to ever play the game of football; the cream truly rises to the top, and Zlatan has remained at the top of his game throughout his career. The fact that he netted the bulk of his goals, 148 in all competitions for Juventus, A.C. & Inter Milan, in one of the toughest defensive leagues ever, the Italian Serie A, is a living testament to the deadliness of the man; any striker that can net over 100 goals in Italy deserves to be recognised as a truly great finisher, and a pretty good forward to boot.

Zlatan has mastered his craft, a player who actually got to fully develop his game and truly fall in love with his skills, in the midst of the media frenzy that has surrounded him since his formative years, something we’ve seen countless talented lads continually fail to do; The Zlatan will surely retire from playing professional football sooner rather than later, now that he is at the end of his peak as an elite level striker, and entering the twilight years of his glorious career, although 3 Golden Boot awards in his 4 Ligue 1 seasons shows that he is still an asset upfront for any team. The true legacy of Zlatan Ibrahimović should not be understated, nor should the demeanour of the man be misunderstood or used against him when speaking on his greatness, or his illustrious career.

The arrogance comes from an understanding of one’s true abilities, and a burning desire to make the utmost of those gifts; the outrageous God given abilities aside, the swagger of a Michael Jordan on the court, the nerves of a Roger Federer in a tournament final, the desire to constantly achieve greatness of a Tony Hawk regardless of the conditions & the confidence in self of a Muhammad Ali regardless of the circumstances or the opposition, all point to a man with the makeup of a true champion, and an all round legend of the sport we all love. There may never be another player as talented, confident and enigmatic as The Zlatan has been, and I am honestly happy with those odds; Bob’s your Grandmothers last born son, the world has been blessed enough to have had one Zlatan Ibrahimović, the foremost football inbetweener, living proof that a well balanced mixture of confidence & arrogance can always fuel undoubted ability, when channelled right.

Ball Don’t Lie (The Numbers)

Club Spell/s Appearances Goals Assists Goal Ratio
Malmö FF September 1999 – July 2001 40 16 N/A 0.4
AFC Ajax July 2001 – August 2004 108 47 15 0.4
Juventus F.C. August 2004 – August 2006 92 26 6 0.3
Inter Milan August 2006 – July 2009 117 66 30 0.6
FC Barcelona July 2009 – June 2011 47 22 14 0.5
A.C. Milan August 2010 – May 2011 (Loan) & June 2011 – July 2012 85 56 24 0.7
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. July 2012 – July 2016 180 156 61 0.9
Totals   669 389 150 0.6

Gone But Not Forgotten; The Scintillating Simphiwe Boy-Boy Mosia

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#TheGrandStandView

“Our talents are the gift that God gives to us, what we make of our talents is our gift back to God.” – Felice Leonardo “Leo” Buscaglia

Sombreness overcame me when I heard of the untimely demise of Simphiwe Mosia, a gifted man that many of us came to know by his second given name, Boy-Boy. Blessed with the technical skills that typify the quintessential Mzansi footballer, Boy-Boy was one of those once in a generation players who seemed to have been sent by the Angels from God. It pains me how his football career seemed to never reach the lofty peaks that his abilities merited, and that’s saying a lot, when you realise that Boy-Boy had a football career & life that many young South Africans grow up dreaming of turning into a reality. Boy-Boy Mosia left us 22 days after to his 31st birthday in Hammarsdale, Kwa-Zulu Natal on July 23rd, 2016. A large portion of his life was spent bringing joy to ticket buying supporters on the field, a place where his talents made him stand head and shoulders above his peers, and defy his diminutive stature through his sheer presence on the ball. Therein is the beauty in his life, Boy-Boy lived, he lived a life that many a South African lad dreams of, and his journey is one we should all garner teachable moments from.

The Rise

As a 14 year old prodigy, Boy-Boy was scouted by Serie A giants Juventus Football Club, and invited over to spend time with their development side; spending a year as a Juve apprentice, the young Boy-Boy developed his game further and begun a relationship with European football that would have many more chapters in the years to come. Returning home to sign for AmaZulu’s youth side, Boy-Boy continued his development at a steady rate, and begun to build upon his reputation as one of the best young players in the country. Boy-Boy’s status as one of the nation’s premier talents was confirmed when he was scouted for and enrolled in, the Transnet/SAFA School of Excellence, where the dribbling wizard joined a group of players that were being groomed to become future professionals, and hopefully even lead the national teams to success.

Playing in an environment catering to the nurturing of talented teenage lads into professional footballers, Boy-Boy excelled at the School of Excellence, and his great rise to prominence was also rewarded with recognition at junior youth level, getting called-up to the South Africa u/20 squad for the 2003 u/20 Cosafa Cup as an 18 year old. South Africa finished 3rd in the tournament, hosted on home soil, and Boy-Boy impressed with his playmaking abilities and improving finishing nous. The journey took another turn when Boy-Boy impressed Chelsea scouts while on tour with the School of Excellence squad in Ireland, The Blues signed Boy-Boy, along with fellow SoE graduates, the late, Pule Jeffery Ntuka & Masilo Michael Modubi. The three South African would spend some time training with the Chelsea reserve side during the off-season, while being loaned out long-term to feeder club K.V.C. Westerlo, in the hopes that they would gain experience and international caps to qualify for work permits and play for Chelsea, or gain Belgian citizenship, which would allow them to be registered as EU citizens.

The Star

The diminutive Boy-Boy found it harder to acclimatise to Belgian football due to his frame and style of play, while Jeffery and Masilo overcame their initial obstacles and begun to progress in their development at a good rate, Mosia begun to regress due to a lack of regular game time. Chelsea intervened in January of 2006, sending him to K.F.C. Dessel Sport in the hopes of getting him more first team exposure; three seasons had passed by and Boy-Boy had still not fully found his feet in Europe, yet the faith remained, albeit from the side of the player and not his parent club in London. Chelsea looked to afford Boy-Boy with the best possible platform to become a professional footballer in Europe, allowing him to transfer on a free to Oud-Heverlee Leuven at the start of the 2006/07 season.

Finding a new lease on life in the Belgian 2nd tier, Boy-Boy became a terrace favourite for Oud-Heverlee Leuven, whose fans came to admire the diminutive playmaker that could play anywhere across the midfield, and still find ways to punish opponents while entertaining the fans. Boy-Boy enjoyed the best years of his professional career in the 3 seasons he spent as a Oud-Heverlee Leuven player, a time that is also fondly remembered by the fans of the club who we fortunate enough to witness some of his best displays as a professional. At 23 years old, Boy-Boy returned home to South Africa with a resume that many players retire never boasting, and it was hurtful to see our local clubs fail to give him the opportunities and support he needed to prolong his career and truly fulfil his potential. A somewhat promising spell with Mpumalanga Black Aces, in the 2008-09 season, was mutually terminated early when Boy-Boy felt aggrieved with issues within the club management, that curtailed homecoming was the last we saw of the gifted playmaker as a professional footballer.

The Legend

If you had to look at what the average South African footballer today has accomplished at 24, flashy cars, social media followers, and a cap or two will be all they have to show for their God given abilities, in an age where we have the scope to do and achieve so much more due to the progress made in the past, by folks like Boy-Boy. When I speak of what Boy-Boy Mosia accomplished when he left the game at 24, I am amazed at his resilience and determination to persevere in a foreign country at such a young age. The same determination Boy-Boy showed when taking on opponents, he showed when the door was shut on his Chelsea dream when he reached 21; at a crossroads where, the few South African lads that dare to go abroad, often find themselves, Boy-Boy chose to bank on his abilities and made a career for himself in Europe when the odds seemed to continually stack against him.

The generation of players that Boy-Boy came from was a highly talented, and somewhat highly troubled one too; our nations socio-economic factors compiled to make lasting success largley unattainable for many gifted players that were born in the 1980’s, South African football will forever wear those scars, and ask itself what might have happened had they been nurtured in a different time. Boy-Boy never played for Bafana Bafana, which compiles the hurt of all the potential we have lost as a nation over the years even more, yet the former South African u/20 & u/23 international will go down as one of our most gifted exports since readmission.

One of the highlights of Boy-Boy’s career was winning with his nation, 3rd place at the 2003 u/20 Cosafa Cup & a Gold medal at the 2004 edition saw him play alongside, and against, players that will go down in the history pages of South African and Southern African football history; the 2003 & 2004 editions of the u/20 Cosafa Cup featured players like Elrio van Heerden, Nhlanhla Shabalala, Graham (Salmaan) King, Lerato Chabangu, Robyn Johannes, Lebohang Mokoena, Daine Klate, Junior Khanye, Felix Katongo, Clifford Mulenga, Jospeh Kamwendo, Jimmy Zakazaka, Rainford Kalaba, Dominic Yobe, Kingston Nkhatha, Davies Nkausu & Lima.

Boy-Boy Mosia

Bio

Full Name: Simphiwe Boy-Boy Mosia

DoB: July 1st, 1985

PoB: Pretoria, Gauteng; South Africa

DoD: July 23rd, 2016 (31)

PoD: Hammarsdale, Kwa-Zulu Natal; South Africa

Position/s: Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Winger, Trequartista (Left/Right/Centre)

Height: 1, 55m

Preferred Foot: Either

Caps & Goals: N/A | South African u/20 & u/23 International

Former Club/s: MG Stars (1994-1999) | Juventus F.C. (1999-2000) | AmaZulu F.C. (2001-2002) | Transnet/SAFA School of Excellence (2001-2003) | Ajax Cape Town F.C. (2001-2002, Loan) | Orlando Pirates F.C. (2002-2003, Loan) | Chelsea F.C. (2003-2006) | K.V.C. Westerlo (2003-2004, Loan) | K.F.C. Dessel Sport (2004-2006, Loan) | Oud-Heverlee Leuven (2006-2008) | Mpumalanga Black Aces (2008-2009)

GSV Wunderkind Watching; The Keen Kingsley Coman

KingsleyComan(Bayern)
An FC Hollywood Starlet On The Rise | Kingsley Coman #29
KingsleyComa(Juve)
Donning The Colours of the Bianconeri | Kingsley Coman #11

Wunderkind

: a child prodigy; also :  one who succeeds in a competitive or highly difficult field or profession at an early age

: someone who achieves success or shows great talent at a young age

The transition from playground hero to global superstar is one that only a lucky few get to undergo & complete; child prodigies can be found in every crevice of the globe, yet one does not always get to witness a child prodigy excel at a competitive level and show signs of great promise at a tender age, as gaffers are often under pressure to get immediate results and predictably punt for more seasoned pro’s as they seek to attain some much needed job security. Football remains one of the greatest tests of talent in the modern age, a field where hard work beats talent, when talent refuses to work hard and having talent alone is not enough to truly flourish in the craft. With measured development and sound off-field guidance, a wunderkind can develop into a world-class footballer with the gifts and aptitude to excel at the highest level; wunderkinder do not always become the true stars that their potential levels would have suggested they’d develop into, yet that will not hinder us from watching the best u/20 lads in the game and giving you an informative, enlightening and educational scouting report as our Talent Scout packs his binoculars and goes Wunderkind Watching.

#TheTalentScout

Kingsley Coman

Bio

DoB: June 13th, 1996 (19)

PoB: Paris, France

Nationalities: French, Guadeloupean

Caps & Goals: 2 Senior Caps {(u/16, 9 Caps), (u/17, 8 Caps & 3 Goals), (u/18, 6 Caps & 1 Goal), (u/19, 7 Caps & 2 Goals), (u/21, 9 Caps & 2 Goals)

Position/s: Winger, Inside Forward, Advanced Playmaker, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Forward, Trequartista (Left, Right, Centre)

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: FC Bayern Munich (On 2 season-long loan from Juventus)

Club Jersey No: #29

Development Academies: US Sénart-Moissy, Paris Saint-Germain

Former Clubs: Paris Saint-Germain B, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus

Career Club Appearances & Goals: 46 Games, 6 Goals & 9 Assists

Talent Scout Report

Mental: One of the biggest critiques regarding many talented protégés today, is their seemingly diminished desire to truly fulfil their potential and earn the right to be talk about amongst the genuine legends of the craft that is football; Kingsley Coman is one player that would seem to defy that growing trend of young players that become complacent before they even complete their development, a young footballer that leaves two title winning sides with the view of improving himself as a footballer is one that deserves to be credited for his determination to truly succeed at the highest level. Coman could easily havechosen to bide his time at PSG or Juve, picking up medals and waiting for an opportunity to regularly display his talents, yet the lad knew that he could make a tangible contribution to the success of a great football club while still continuing his own personal development; that determination translates onto his on-field game as he runs his socks off on both ends of the pitch and offers an intangible quality that many young footballers today should aspire to possess.

His anticipation of spaces on the pitch seems to improve with increased game-time, and his high work-rate makes him an asset in the counter-pressing game as he knows how to use his physical gifts to the benefit of his team; the opportunity to have played in title winning teams and trained alongside world – class players seems to have improved his overall reading of match situations and his exposure to such environments has improved his big match temperament drastically in a matter of years.

For such a technically gifted player, the next critique could sound preposterous; yet Kingsley can sometimes lack the creativity to dig deep into his bag of tricks and unlock compact defences with more definitive moments of magic, his end product is often hampered by a perceived lack of ability to be composed and play the obvious killer pass or execute a direct run that leads to a converted attacking opportunity.

Physical: Blessed with bags of pace and the athleticism of a premier athlete, Kingsley could develop into an offensive marvel once his overall game is completely balanced and developed; it’s one thing for a footballer to have good pace, yet the Thierry Henry’s of this world have proven to us that great pace becomes deadly when its fused with outstanding balance and almost catlike agility. Coman is a physically outstanding specimen with even more room to develop and grow to the level where he can use his physical gifts as an addition to his already heavily fitted offensive arsenal; that combination of pace and power makes him a threat when he has the ball at his feet, yet the lad can also use his physicality to hold the ball up and prove hard for opposition defenders to disposes.

Technical: Of all his technical gifts, Kinglsey’s first touch allows all his other abilities to come to the fore far more naturally, the ability to control a football is largely overlooked these days and many young players are rushed to learn how to work the ball before mastering the art of controlling it and keeping it under a spell for long enough to weave some magic. If top European sides have learned anything from the success they have enjoyed at the elite level, it’s that there remains little defence for attacking players that can take on defenders and eliminate opponents to create room to attack in against more compact defences that look to play on the break; Coman’s direct running ability and dribbling technique easily mark him out as an offensive superstar in the making, the lad has the ability to keep fans on their feet with mazy runs that often leave defenders tied up in knots.

Although we have discussed his need for an improved end product, the natural gifts are there to be nurtured with time; a powerful long rang shooter with some venom in both pegs, Coman could bag his fair share of goals & assists with more attention to his final delivery or final action at the end of yet another good offensive run. While he seemed to be a handy finisher an youth level, Kingsley has only begun to show glimpses of what he can contribute to a team in the final third of the pitch; his own rawness may be to attribute for those shortcomings, yet the lad could develop into a great offensive weapon that can play anywhere in attack and still add immense quality.

GSV Potential Meter: 5/5 Tsamaya’s