Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
12 Dec 2019
12:08 pm

Maritzburg’s De Reuck scoops Phakaaathi Player of the Month award

Sibongiseni Gumbi

It might be premature to say this, but the city that brought us one of the best defenders the country has ever had in Mbulelo Mabizela may have unearthed another gem of a centre back.

Pic: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mabizela was born in Pietermaritzburg and got his first break with Maritzburg City before joining Orlando Pirates.

READ: Maritzburg going to war against Sundowns – Buchanan

Mabizela went on to become Bafana Bafana captain and also had stints overseas most notably with Tottenham Hotspur where he scored a scorcher on debut. But all that is now history and the spotlight has fallen on 23-year-old Rushine De Reuck, the winner of Phakaaathi’s Player-of-the-Month for November, beating Andile Jali, Gabadinho Mhango and Sipho Mbule in the public vote.

Although he was born in Cape Town, he grew up in Pietermaritzburg where he joined Maritzburg United’s development ranks. He has risen through the ranks and become one of the club’s most valuable assets.

While he had a slow start to his career at the Team of Choice, he has since grown into a force especially under Eric Tinkler who converted him from a left back into a centre back.

His reading of the game and timing of his tackles and interceptions has many believing he is the next best thing since Mabizela. His stock has risen so much that Maritzburg were forced to tie him down with an improved five-year contract to ensure they do not lose their finest asset easily.

There had already been reports linking him with Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United when Maritzburg moved fast to secure him. With brilliant displays in the draw against SuperSport United and that memorable performance in the Telkom Knockout semifinal match against Kaizer Chiefs, De Rueck was chosen as one of the nominees for the Phakaaathi Player-of-the-Month for November and won the majority vote.

De Rueck is a humble young man who hardly wants the limelight according to those close to him. And that shone through in a recent interview with the club’s website.

“Not only the back four or five will have to defend, but everyone. We’re all defending and attacking together so credit must go to the whole team,” he said.

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