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SA midfielder joins English League Two side

Crewe Alexandra have confirmed the signing of South African attacking midfielder Khanya Leshabela from Leicester City.

Leshabela joins the English League Two side on a six-month deal. The club confirmed that the 22-year-old footballer would go straight into the reckoning to feature in their Saturday’s 2022/23 opener at Rochdale.

The Soshanguve-born, though his parents were originally from Limpopo, becomes Crewe’s seventh signing of the season, and the midfielder is ready to hit the ground running and impress at his new club.

Leshabela grew up in Northampton, England, where he moved with his family at two. He started his career at Leicester City where he signed his first professional contract in January 2019 before making his Premier League debut in March 2021.

Following his debut, manager Brendan Rodgers praised Leshabela, stating that “he’s a young player who has worked very hard”, adding that “he has got qualities and he came into the game and showed nice confidence. He’s dynamic, he is physical, he has good fitness, a nice touch of the ball, and he has an understanding of how to play the game tactically, which is very important.”

The South African U-20 international spent January on loan at Shrewsbury Town in League One. After struggling for game time, Shrewsbury manager Steve Cotterill said that Leshabela’s loan had been a ‘punt’ and his position at the club would be reassessed in the January transfer window. On 27 January 2022, his loan spell was terminated.

Leshabela was part of the Amajita squad that participated in the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations and the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

He plays primarily as an attacking midfielder but can also play as a winger.

“Everyone at the club would like to welcome Khanya to the club and wish him all the best for the coming season,” read Crewe’s statement.

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