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Abbubaker Mobara, An Emerging Force in South Africa’s League

He doesn’t possess the mass weight of Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany or the tall frame of Les Bleus Kurt Zouma but still send chills down the spines of Strikers.

It will be a travesty of justice in its purest not to mention Abbubaker Mobara if it ever comes to picking best centre-backs of the last three seasons in the South African Premier Soccer League.

Born in Mitchells Plain, one of South Africa’s largest Coloured Township 32km from Cape Town, the Rainbow nation’s second most populous urban city, Mobara have had a rapid rise, coming through the ranks of boyhood club Ajax Cape Town where he spent the last 13-years.

Acquired at a tender age, Abbubaker was never going to escape Ajax’s youth team production line after he caught the eyes of scouts while playing for his local club against them.

Years on, he’d scaled the various youth categories of the club to the A-team. His taste of first team football came in the 2012/2013 under the tutelage of Dutch gaffer Jan Versleijen, coming on as a late second-half substitute for Lance Davis in Cape Town’s 2-0 humbling to Bidvest Wits.

That season, Cape Town survived demotion from the ABSA Premiership by three points prompting chairman Ari Efstathiou to pull the trigger, axing Versleijen naming 51-year-old South African-born Roger De Sá as his replacement.

The timing of the Dutch coach’s sacking many had feared would truncate Mobara’s progression with the new man at the helm touted to launch a revamp of the squad, a shake-up of which could mean a drift in the club’s tradition to promote youth development .

But it turned out Roger De Sá had the defender in his plans for the season and the no-nonsense stopper would go on to cement his place in the starting line up, raking up twenty-two appearances -one thousand, eight hundred and seventy-five minutes of football – his biggest run of games, missing out only five of the club’s domestic 30-games.

A major revelation and a much revered figure by now at the club, Abbubaker continued from where he left of the following 2014 campaign with strings of stunning displays, becoming the back-four’s very heartbeat leading Ajax to prepossessing finish of  fourth in the 16-team standings.

Coach’s Roger gamble to prefer youthful exuberance and agility paid off proving a major turning point in Mobora’s career. By this moment, the ace has played internationally for South Africa’s youth teams –six times for the U-23s and U-20s with the senior national team only a matter of time.


Scouts from other clubs within the South African top tier had began lurking around to steal glances at the player amid riffed claims there have been clandestine enquiries from other teams about possibilities of signing player.

Platinum Stars, SuperSport United were amongst plethora of sides expressing interest, however, involvement of Orlando Pirates and multiple times PSL title winners Mamelodi Sundowns inevitably made the queue a two-horse race.

So intense was the whole situation that Ajax decided to warn clubs via a press statement against coming any near their player, a thing the side felt was unsettling their star defender.

Quadruple times League winner Orlando Pirates would eventually snatch the youngster’s signature in a transfer highly embroiled by controversy and worth in excess of €500,000.

The Mother City-born player laid his decision to end his 13-year love affair with Ajax over the club’s lack of pursuit for major silverwares and that he viewed his boyhood club too much of a  comfort zone thus wanted a new challengs

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]‘I want to be a part of the Soweto Derby… the fifth biggest derby in the world… and I think it would be a big privilege for me to be a part of that. Obviously, one of the reasons I wanted to be at Orlando Pirates was because of the challenges, but most importantly because of that derby,’[/perfectpullquote]

the 22-year-old tells in August, on the heels of South Africa’s exit in the Rio Olympics, a team he was a key part of.

The Soweto derby, one of the most fiercely contested African club battles, fought between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and televised around the continent’s major sports channels, also influenced Abbubaker’s decision to join the Buccaneers (The Black Ones).

In Mobara, team coach Muhsin Ertuğral has a player whose versatility to also feature in central midfield and left-back will help in Orlando’s chase to land league gong this term following five years of attempts without success.

He did not have the proper pre-season drill like rest of his new teammates but Abbubaker is hardly making that show as he starts in both of Orlando’s first two games of the new season.

Trialed by TF Twente, Porto, RC Lens and AFC Jax at a young but deemed not good enough, it wouldn’t be surprising when these clubs return seeking to sign the latent in few years to come.


Featured Photo: Courtesy of

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