Lebogang Phiri

Lebogang Lelani Phiri (born 9 November 1994) is a South African professional footballer who plays for French Ligue 1 club EA Guingamp and the South Africa national team. Phiri is capable of playing in several midfield positions, but is usually deployed by his club and national sides as a central midfielder, in the role of a deep-lying playmaker.

Lebogang Phiri
Phiri with Brøndby in 2016
Personal information
Full name Lebogang Lelani Phiri
Date of birth (1994-11-09) 9 November 1994
Place of birth Johannesburg, South Africa
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Guingamp
Number 6
Youth career
2004–2005 Real Madrid
2005–2008 Balfour Park
2008–2009 Shooting Stars Sports Concepts
2009–2013 Bidvest Wits
2013 Brøndby IF
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2013–2017 Brøndby IF 109 (7)
2017– Guingamp 46 (0)
National team
2016– South Africa U23 3 (1)
2015– South Africa 7 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:42, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Career

Brøndby IF

2012–13 season

Phiri joined Brøndby IF's under-19 team on 8 February 2013 on a long-term eighteen months loan from the youth academy of South African side Bidvest Wits.[1] He soon became a member of the first team, claiming a spot as a defensive midfielder in the line-up, due to injuries and suspensions. He made his debut (in jersey number 34) in the away game against OB on 28 April 2013 which was won 2–1.[2] Phiri retained his spot for the remaining four games of the season in which Brøndby were undefeated while scoring twice. On 20 May 2013, he scored the last-minute winning goal against AC Horsens that made Brøndby avoid relegation from the Danish Superliga.

2013–14 season

Phiri signed 28 June 2013 a new four-year contract which tied him to the club until the summer 2017.[3] He was officially promoted to the first team and handed jersey number 18.[4]

He had a rough start on the season as Brøndby IF decided to sign Martin Ørnskov as an reinforcement and replacement for him in defensive midfield. But Phiri found himself in the starting line-up after three matches with only 1 point and thereby pushed the team captain Mikkel Thygesen away from the defensive midfield in Brøndby's 4–2–3–1 system in the 2–2 away draw against Viborg on 9 August 2013. But yet again Phiri found himself back on the bench as Brøndby IF signed former Danish international Thomas Kahlenberg.[5] He returned to the starting line-up in November playing in a 3–0 home victory against Aarhus GF.[6]

2014–15 season

On 31 July 2014, Phiri made his Europa League debut in the starting line-up[7] in a 3–0 away defeat against Belgian side Club Brugge.[8] Following a winter mid-season preparation with much playtime[9] Phiri managed to settle as one of manager Thomas Frank's favourites which was rewarded with a call-up to the South Africa national team. He made his debut coming off the bench during the second half in the Bafana's 3–1 victory over Swaziland on 25 March 2015 which earned him a slot on the Wall of Honour at Brøndby Stadium.[10][11]

2015–16 season

Phiri started the season with a slot among the starting-11 in a 9–0 home victory against San Marino side A.C. Juvenes/Dogana in the Europa League qualification.[12]

Phiri chose a new agent, former Danish international Søren Lerby to represent him during the forthcoming career decisions and contract negotiations. On 20 March 2016, Phiri was named MoM by both sponsors and supporters after a performance against Esbjerg fB. Afterwards, he revealed that he felt ready to take the next step in his career while being open for a contract extension with Brøndby IF.[13]

A week later, Phiri got his South Africa under-23 debut in the starting line-up in the 3–1 defeat against Brazil under-23 during the Olympic Games 2016 preparation before being substituted off during the half time break.[14]

Phiri crowned his season by winning the leading Brøndby dedicated media 3point.dk player of the season award, a prize based on the readers' votes after each game in the season. He had twice as many points as the club legend Daniel Agger who came in third after Frederik Rønnow.[15]

2016–17 season

During the pre-season Phiri represented South Africa U23 in the COSAFA Castle cup in Namibia where he started and led his team to a 3–2 win against Botswana.[16] He scored his first U23 goal (2–1) in the 5–1 semi-final victory against Swaziland.[17]

Phiri started contract negotiations with Brøndby after returning from COSAFA Castle Cup. Both the club and Phiri stated a common interest in an agreement but Phiri also said that he was keeping his options open. During the negotiations he revealed that Brøndby had rejected an offer from the Austria side Rapid Vienna.[18] After weeks of negotiations Brøndby decided to put pressure on Phiri as they rejected his wish of representing his country at the Olympics 2016 in Rio without a signed contract extension.[19]

On 28 May 2017, Brøndby announced that Phiri would leave the club at the end of his contract due to his ambition for a new challenge.[20]

EA Guingamp

On 30 May 2017, EA Guingamp announced that Phiri had penned a four-year-contract tying him to the club until the summer 2021.[21]

Personal life

Phiri hails from Alexandra and is the son of former Vaal Professionals player Esau Phiri.[22]

Career statistics

As of 6 July 2019[23][24]
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
DivisionAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Brøndby IF 2012–13 Superliga 520052
2013–14 21100211
2014–15 3013120352
2015–16 2834080403
2016–17 250307091341
Total 1097101170911459
Guingamp 2017–18 Ligue 1 22030250
2018–19 24070310
Total 4601000000560
Career total 1567201170912019
  • (—) Not qualified

International

As of matches played on 13 October 2019[25]
South Africa national team
YearAppsGoals
201510
201631
201710
201810
201910
Total71

International goals

Scores and results list South Africa's goal tally first.[25][26]
No.DateVenueOpponentScoreResultCompetition
1.22 June 2016Sam Nujoma Stadium, Windhoek, Namibia Swaziland2–15–12016 COSAFA Cup
2.17 November 2019Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa Sudan1–01–02021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification

References

  1. Sorensen, Simon Møbjerg (8 February 2013). "Brondby sign 18-year-old African" (in Danish). tipsbladet.dk. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  2. Said, Nick (30 April 2013). "Phiri shines in Brondby debut". The Sowetan. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  3. "Lebogang Phiri gets four more years at Vestegnen" (in Danish). brondby.com. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  4. "New jersey numbers" (in Danish). brondby.com. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  5. Houlind, Søren (8 October 2013). "Phiri: I'll take my chances" (in Danish). bold.dk. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  6. "Phiri aiming for Bafana call". football411.com. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  7. "Starting line-up against Club Brugge" (in Danish). brondby.com. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  8. "Phiri: Must keep focus" (in Danish). brondby.com. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  9. "Phiri: Phiri seals the victory with a phenomenal goal against IFK GÖTEBORG" (in Danish). brondby.com. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  10. "Phiri's name on the wall of honour" (in Danish). 3point.dk. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  11. "Phiri Makes His Way Onto Brondby's Wall of Fame" (in Danish). soccerladuma.co.za. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  12. "Watch the nine Brøndby goals" (in Danish). 3point.dk. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  13. "Feels ready – Brøndby-exit ahead off Phiri?" (in Danish). tipsbladet.dk. 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  14. "Phiri and South Africa met there bane". 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  15. "Phiri – Player of the season" (in Danish). 3point.dk. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  16. "Phiri and ZA wins the COSAFA Castle Cup" (in Danish). 3point.dk. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  17. "Phiri scores in ZA win" (in Danish). 3point.dk. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  18. "Phiri would love to stay" (in Danish). 7 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  19. "Phiri would love to stay" (in Danish). 3point.dk. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  20. "Phiri leaves" (in Danish). 28 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  21. "Phiri signes for four years" (in French). 30 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  22. "Like father like son for Lebo". 10 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  23. "Lebogang Phiri " Club matches". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  24. http://brondby.com/spillere/spillerprofil/?playerid=324284
  25. Lebogang Phiri at National-Football-Teams.com
  26. "L. Phiri". Soccerway. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
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