Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Qalinge took showboating to a whole new level with a remarkable – and entirely unnecessary – series of skills in a South African Premier Soccer League match.
The Pirates, who are set to finish second in South African league football’s top tier, were cruising to a 3-0 victory over Polokwane City. With the three points in the bag, Qalinge decided to have some fun with an intricate set of step-overs, despite no opposition player being anywhere near him.
In a clip that has gone viral on social media, Qalinge collects the ball on the left wing in the first of three minutes of added time. The 27-year-old proceeds to do six step-overs in quick succession – before completing a complete 360-degree pirouette over the top of the football.
The entire routine brings Qalinge – and the rest of the players – to a complete standstill, seemingly unable to process quite what just happened. Eventually a Polokwane player comes in to close Qalinge, causing him to dribble away with the ball in a much more conventional manner.
The skill – and the victory – proved to be entirely in vain as the Pirates’ main rivals for the league title, Mamelodi Sundowns, beat Free State Stars 1-0 to win the championship. Qalinge’s moment of showmanship thrilled fans on Twitter however, with some comparing it to the sort of skill usually only seen on video games like FIFA.
It is certainly the biggest moment of global fame in the career of Qalinge so far. The winger, capped once by South Africa, has played for the Pirates since 2014.