South Africa national team defender Rivaldo Coetzee has revealed that he still regrets not being able to join Scottish giants Celtic.
Still 23 and plying his trade with South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, Coetzee had agreed to join the Hoops from former club Ajax Cape Town in the summer of 2017. The club announced the move, but the transfer fell through due to a failed medical.
In an interview that the defender was giving to South African outlet MG, he talked about how the failed move still haunts him to this day.
He said: “Almost every day. I keep thinking about it. It might not be good for me … but maybe it could be good for my career to think about why they wanted to sign me. There must have been something that I did well for them to see that.
“I have to try and get back to that level. I’m playing in a different position but it’s always to try and get better: to help the team and contribute to its success. And then, hopefully, another opportunity will arrive.”
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A broken dream
The interview states that during the medical in the summer of 2017, tests had detected a broken bone in Coetzee’s right foot. Days after failing the move to Parkhead, Coetzee had sealed a move to Ajax Cape Town’s rivals Sundowns.
During his spell at Cape Town, Coetzee had impressed enough to gain a move to the Scottish Champions. Since making his debut for the club in the 2013-14 campaign, he went onto make 90 more appearances for the Cape Town first-team.
During his spell there, he also ended up making the national team first-team. To date, Coetzee has appeared 19 times for the Bafana Bafana, with his last appearance coming just before the failed move to Glasgow.
For Sundowns though, Coetzee has played a total of 26 times for the club, assisting twice since the move in 2017. His return from the foot injury came at the end of last year and he missed a total of 90 games.
Coetzee’s failed move could well be a reason why the Hoops ended up signing Jack Hendry from Dundee United in the winter of 2018, after signing Marvin Compper in the same month (per TransferMarkt).
The South African could have, perhaps, had time on his side to make a name for himself at Celtic Park if his medical hadn’t been unsuccessful. He was only around 21 at that point and a move for him could have rewarded the club with a future resale value too. Indeed, if that move had worked out, they may not have signed Christopher Jullien from Toulouse this past summer.