Sunderland prospect Bali Mumba has joined South Shields on loan until the end of the season.
The 18-year-old made his debut for the Black Cats at the tender age of 16 in May 2018, coming on as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the season. Not only that, he was handed the captain’s armband when he came on, making him the club’s youngest-ever captain.
He’s since appeared nine more times for the Wearsiders and has represented England from Under 16 to Under 19 level.
“We’re delighted to have someone of Bali’s calibre joining us for the final push in the league season,” said South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton.
“He is very highly-regarded at Sunderland having been regularly involved in the first-team squad over the last two years, and we’d like to thank all the members of staff at Sunderland who have enabled this to happen.”
Whilst it’s a move likely to be welcomed by the Mariners, who are top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division, it has drawn some surprise from Sunderland fans, who have seen him come close to first-team football recently.
Some supporters are concerned that the conveyer belt of talent seems destined to stop sometime before Under 23 prospects seem to make the transition to first team football, as you’ll see below.
How has he gone from playing first team football to a loan to southshields ?
— james turnbull (@jxmes123) March 5, 2020
He should be playing in the first team st this level. If this was 4 years ago I guarantee he'd be on loan to a team in this league
— TWANGMACKEM8258™️ ????????? (@twangmackem) March 5, 2020
Agree completely, The lad never looked out of place in central midfield (indeed he completely schooled a player the mags are now all fawning over). No offence to South Shields but this is a mental move
— Ross Robson ?? (@rossrobson) March 5, 2020
Never a good sign to be loaned to South Shields. See all the players you don’t remember because they never made it at SAFC
— Martyn Armstrong (@MKA97FTM) March 5, 2020
should be walking into this team
— Rhys William (@lincolnSAFC) March 5, 2020
He should at a football league team, this is disappointing.
— Nathan Parr (@Paarylad614) March 6, 2020
Another glowing endorsement for those running the academy
— Jamie Stafford (@JStafford25) March 5, 2020
Ridiculous…talented wee man… in a team which generally is not talented… poor governance again! Again…ridiculous!
— Alex Campbell (@Alexbcampbell2) March 5, 2020