Cape Town - Former Kaizer Chiefs defender Siphiwe Mkhonza has urged fans and the media alike to dampen down their expectations of recently promoted youngster Siyabonga Ngezana.
Ngezana, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Wednesday, was called up to the Amakhosi first-team after head coach Steve Komphela's squad was blighted by injuries in his defensive department.
After impressing in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge over the past 12 months, the towering defender has slotted seamlessly into a back three, with Komphela opting for a new 3-5-2 formation.
However, Mkhonza who played for the Soweto giants between 2004 and 2007, feels the media have lavished too much praise on the player who's only featured in four senior games to date.
"The problem that we have in South Africa is that we give credit too early," he told IOL. "I think it is too early. I hope that he has good surroundings around him. You don't want to lie to him and say you are there when you are not there.
"If you do that, you are crippling him and he will forget to work on the fundamentals of the game. Most of our young players forget to work on the fundamentals of the game.
"They tend to forget to work hard enough. For me, an athlete needs to work hard all the time," the former Bafana Bafana defender added.
"It doesn't matter how you performed in your last match. With good coaching, I think Ngezana will develop. He hasn't reached his prime as yet."