Kakamas is a small town in the Northern Cape with a population of 10000. It is here that Rivaldo Coetzee honed his footballing skills and on Monday it was announced that this small town kid is set to make it big in the major leagues.
It was confirmed that the 20year old Rivaldo is set to join the Scottish champions, Glasgow Celtic where he will be working with former Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers. The talented young defender’s transfer is part of Celtic’s plans to strengthen their defense after several key players sustained injuries.
Described as a footballer that is too advanced for his age, a 14 year old Rivaldo’s talents was first spotted in 2011 when he tried out at the Safa School of Excellence trails. He was drafted into the SA under 17 national side and in 2012, he was recruited by Ajax Cape Town. He was included in the Ajax youth structures where he captained the under17’s to victory in the Engen Knockout Challenge and the under 19’s to success in the Metropolitan Premier Cup.
In 2013, he was promoted to the Ajax senior side and made his first test debt in 2014 at the age of 17. In that same year, he was called up to play for the national Bafana Bafana squad, becoming the youngest player to be given that honour.
After several years of playing with distinction, Rivaldo will be leaving the club as the Ajax Player of the Season. Rivaldo will also be playing for Bafana Bafana in their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde. Last year, as the most capped player in the team, he was also given the honour of Captaining Bafana Bafana in the absence of Keagen Dolly.
Rivaldo’s mom said that she is very proud of his success. He can attribute much of his success to his family, who had supported him in achieving his dreams from the very beginning. When he had to attend the trails in Cape Town, his uncle drove him 900km’s all the way from Kakamas He is also the pride of the community of Kakamas and he is especially influential in inspiring young people.
For now, Rivaldo is sticking to his philosophy of taking it one day at a time, and waiting for his chance to make his European debut. Celtic is likely set to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, and when he takes the field for the first time, South Africa will be cheering for the pride of Kakamas.