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HomeBafana BafanaHow Okon Chose Bafana Over Nigeria

How Okon Chose Bafana Over Nigeria

SuperSport United teenager Ime Okon was the surprise name in Hugo Broos’ latest Bafana Bafana squad, but it was an important selection by the Belgian coach in order to secure the 18-year-old’s international future.

It was very important that Broos quickly moved to select Okon before there were ideas of him also playing for the Nigerian Super Eagles.

This was according to Randburg Football Club Chairman Kevin Mudie as he spoke to iDiski Times about Okon’s selection to the latest Bafana Bafana 36-man preliminary squad to play international friendlies against Namibia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The squad will still be trimmed down to 23 players on Wednesday, and it remains to be seen whether Okon will make the final selection.

Born to a South African mother and Nigerian father here in South Africa, Mudie said Okon could have been persuaded to also consider playing for Nigeria but currently he only has a local passport.

“He could’ve had the choice to play for either. I’m very, very happy as a South African but sorry Nigeria but he’s chosen to be with Bafana Bafana,” said Mudie about Okon’s decision.

“And long may that future continue, and it’s a wonderful statement that he’s made so early in his career, he’s nailed his colours to the mast so to speak and we are very chuffed about that.”

Okon spent five years at the Randburg Football Club before he moved to United in November 2022, where he was scouted by the head coach Gavin Hunt himself during one of their Gauteng Development League (GDL) matches. Mudie was a former top striker with Wits University, Durban City and AmaZulu in the 80’s and early 90’s.

“Look, I think it’s played a big role and a big part but it’s also credit to someone like Gavin Hunt and his team to spot that talent,” Mudie continued.

“And once they’ve spotted him and we see that he’s moving on and he’s developing they will then take him on to better things because the more intensity he will train with, the better he will become.

“And he will have to learn quickly and step up from Randburg to go and train with the SuperSport United.”

Mudie has also opened up about how the youngster ended up at United and his relations with Hunt also played a big role in this deal.

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“We have obviously rated him very, very highly. I gave Gavin a call because I know him personally, having played with him and against him, so we know each other very, very well,” Mudie said.

“And I asked him if he could come and have a look at Okon and he came to watch one of our games in Pretoria and also in Johannesburg. We then sent him to Megawatt Park (SuperSport United training grounds) for a trial.

“And they loved him there and next was looking to be a SuperSport player, we were very happy and he went to the DDC side. They won the league last season obviously and he had an exceptional time playing for them.

“He loved it and most importantly his work rate, his attitude, his humbleness, has got him through. He’s a wonderful man and long may his success continue.”

Okon (18), has already played four matches for United in all competitions this season, and he looks to be a regular under Hunt.

iDiski Times
iDiski Times
iDiski Times is one of the fastest-growing football brands in South Africa. Boasting a free weekly newspaper as well as a 24/7 news website with top breaking news in the PSL (DStv Premiership, Motsepe Foundation Championship), women's football and all other major tournaments in South Africa and abroad.