University of Johannesburg: Former UJ football player and student joins MLS side FC Dallas

Katlego “Tsiki” Ntsabeleng has become the latest South African football player to sign for a major international football club in 2021. Major League Soccer (MLS) side FC Dallas announced on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 that the club has secured the services of Ntsabeleng after his impressive showing in the 2021 campaign at Oregon State University.

In a MLS web report, it was stated that FC Dallas “continued their busy 2022 MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday by securing the No. 28 pick (first round) via a trade with New York City FC and picking Oregon State forward Tsiki Ntsabeleng. In return, 2021 MLS Cup champions NYCFC received $50,000 in allocation money and the No. 34 SuperDraft pick (second round).”

The 23-year-old Daveyton-born footballer honed his skills at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) when he was enrolled for a Sport Management qualification. He played for UJ in local leagues and the FNB Varsity Football tournament before playing for the South African Under20 national team, Mamelodi Sundowns’ reserve team and Kaizer Chiefs’ second team in the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC).

His success in the USA came as a result of his impressive exploits in the South African Under20 national squad. Ntsabeleng’s talent impressed Kyle Timm when the young national team competed in the COSAFA Cup in Zambia in 2018. Timm recruited Ntsabeleng to join Coastal Carolina University in the USA.

He was part of the SA Under20 and Chiefs MDC teams that won the Multichoice Diski Shield and COSAFA Championship in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Mr River Ntsabeleng, Tsiki’s father expressed his immense pride at the success of his son.

“I do not have words to describe the feeling. I thank God for the blessing. I have never missed a UJ football match which my son played in Gauteng and I was present at every game he played in Johannesburg. I only watched on TV when he was playing in faraway provinces. I have supported and trained him since he was 9-years-old.”

He adds, “One thing I would like to urge our local professional teams to do is to encourage youngsters to pursue their education post matric even when they start playing professional football.”

Ntsabeleng received a full scholarship at CCU in 2018. That is where he finished his degree. While he was studying at CCU, he was injured. While nursing his injury and looking for a team, he registered for a Master’s degree (2020-2021) at Oregon State University which then helped him overcome his injury woes.

“I would also like to urge young people to take their education and talent very seriously. Football and any other talent go a long way when they are complemented by education. Young people should not indulge in alcohol. Please stay away from drugs and any other forms of substance abuse,” says the father, emphasising the importance of education for young people.

At UJ, Ntsabeleng excelled under the tutelage of former South African left-back Bradley Carnell as a Coach. Carnell launched his coaching career at UJ and guided the UJ side to its first final in the FNB Varsity Football tournament in 2014. He continued his coaching prowess as part of the Orlando Pirates FC’s technical team.

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