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Football | Bafana Bafana

Anele Ngcongca © Action Images

Emotive night for Ngcongca



Bafana Bafana fullback Anele Ngcongca is set for an emotive reunion in the Uefa Europa League on Thursday with a coach who has had a major influence on his career.

The Gugulethu-born right back’s Belgian club Racing Genk plays away against Sporting Lisbon of Portugal, who have just appointed former Genk coach Francky Vercautern as their new boss.

Vercautern took Genk to the Belgian title two years ago before moving to a more lucrative job in the Middle East and now a post with struggling Sporting.

“Vercautern was a brilliant coach,” said Ngcongca on the eve of the tie in Lisbon where Genk are seeking to progress to the knockout phase early next year.

“We were champions and I had a great rhythm in my play under him. I was really sad when he left but I don’t hold it against him.

“He did what at that time was the best for his career and I respect that.”

Ngcongca says it feel strange to see his formal mentor on the opposing bench.

“A large chunk of the team that we won the championship with has left but for the players who know Vercautern this is a special game.

Ngcongca, who returns home next week to play for Bafana Bafana in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match, says Vercautern had a good tactical brain and used humour to relax his players.

“I’m going to look him up before the game to have a nice chat. We had a strong bond, maybe I can persuade him to give us a few free points,” joked Ngcongca.

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