At first it was challenging and really hard to accept the situation,” reacts Nkonsigiphile ‘Mshini’ Ngcobo to the advent of Covid-19. “I changed my daily routine and got used to being indoors at all times. As much as it is hard, I think there are some positives out of it such as developing new skills.”
The budding star is a shining graduate from Amakhosi’s Youth Development Academy.
The 20-year-old Ngcobo is on a comeback trail following his long-term Achilles Tendon injury lay-off. Since his return from injury, he has made several appearances on the bench and once came on as a sub for the first team and played a starring role in the Multichoice Diski Challenge before Covid-19 struck the globe.
“The hardest part about this lockdown is that it happened when I was making good progress,” laments Ngcobo. “I was getting ready and happy to be back on the field. I believe that it’s a challenge for my mental strength. I just need to stay positive, motivated and focus on the bigger picture.”
“I keep busy with exercising. I am a professional and I must stay fit and healthy. I focus on my studies and play video games for entertainment.”
Ngcobo is a law student and reveals, “I spend three hours studying every day from Monday to Friday. I divide it into one hour in the morning, midday, and night”.
In using lockdown to learn new skills, Ngcobo says he has learnt how to cook, and enjoys preparing different meals every day.
Ngcobo’s recipe of choice:
Spaghetti, tomato soup, and hakes.
Hake dipped into eggs, flour, fish spices, olive oil and spice.
On lessons learned from the situation, Ngcobo says: “This situation has taught me that things do not always go your way or the way you planned. You just have to accept and adapt. It’s always important to keep focus on your goals.
“I can’t forget making a return to the first team after almost a year’s absence,” Ngcobo refers to the 23 December 2019 league match against Maritzburg United. “The game against Maritzburg was very difficult but I enjoyed it. The stadium was full, and the atmosphere was great. I was very happy to return and play in that game.”
Ngcobo was included in the men’s U-23 South African preliminary squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The team is coached by David Notoane.
“I was very happy to make the preliminary Olympics squad,” reacts Ngcobo. “I was working hard for that, and it happened, so I just need to continue working harder.
“We miss the Amakhosi faithful, but we will be back soon. The supporters must stay home and safe. We love them so much and can’t wait to see them after we have gone past this moment.”
With June celebrated as Youth Month, Ngcobo concludes by sharing his message. “We will be paying tribute to the learners who stood up against the apartheid government,. It is important that as the youth of today, we celebrate and show appreciation for what the youth of 1976 did for us. We must observe this month by upping our game in terms of improving and taking responsibility for our actions. We must use this month as a reminder that young people were at the forefront of change in our country.”