SuperSport United assistant coach and 1996 Africa Cup of Nations winner Andre Arendse is not surprised with the call-up of their academy product Thapelo Maseko into South Africa’s U23 squad.
Initially, it was thought that Maseko was selected as the youngest player in the Bafana Bafana squad that’ll face Liberia in AFCON qualifications next week. The versatile left-footed player has scored three times for the Tshwane giants and provided one assist this season.
However, that announcement was a mistake, and Maseko is actually in David Notoane’s U23 squad.
South Africa U23 will take on Congo in two matches which are qualifiers for the 2023 Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Morocco. From there, they hope to get through to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.
Arendse says he is not surprised to see Maseko being called into the national U23 squad due to his qualities.
“His call-up to the national team is not a surprise for me, I think it’s well deserved. He has improved this season and also started to score goals and it’s important for wingers to score goals for the team,” Arendse told ThisIsFootball.Africa
“Thapelo Maseko has been an absolute revelation to the team this year so far. He started to show his qualities last season and when I took over the team to the last six games of the season, I started to make him a bigger part of team selection,” he added.
Maseko played a huge role for SuperSport United’s reserve team that’s led by Thabo September. There, Matsatsantsa finished second behind champions Stellenbosch. Arendse believes consistent performances will keep Maseko in the national team for the longest time.
“I think if he continues to keep consistent performances, he’ll start to become a regular in the national team.
“I’ve seen the qualities. He’s a natural winger, who comes with a lot of pace and speed. And he’s a nightmare for central defenders and opposition right backs.”
The 19-year-old was part of the Bafana Bafana 2022 COSAFA squad which was held in Gqeberha. The squad failed to defend the title they had won in 2021 as they finished as the Plate Final winners.