THE REAL MAKOYA
There is a new breed of South African footballer with an attitude — the kind that harbours loftier ambitions than playing for Chiefs, Pirates or Sundowns. Such a player aims to end up at Real Madrid, Manchester United or Barcelona.
Last week, South Africans were given a glimpse of this new breed in SuperSport United’s attacking midfielder Sipho Mbule, who created havoc on his Bafana Bafana debut in their 1-0 victory against Botswana in Rustenburg.
Mbule’s swashbuckling display bamboozled the Zebras, his creativity carving holes, seemingly at will, in their defence. It was no surprise that he was responsible for the only goal of the match, scored by Ryan Moon, to earn our gong as the Real Makoya.
“He is very mature for a 19-year-old,” said SuperSport United’s chief executive, Stanley Matthews.
“He is one of many development players that we are bringing up gradually into the first team because he is ready for the responsibilities of professional football. Teboho Mokoena, at 20, has already become a crucial member of the first team. Now, Mbule has proven his credentials at the highest level too,” said Matthews.
“We know that players like Morgan Gould, Tefu Mashamaite and Yeye Letsholonyane cannot continue delivering forever or feature in 30 matches a season. So, the likes of Mbule are ready for a seamless transitional takeover.”
Mbule admitted to being nervous ahead of the game, but said senior players Cole Alexander and Mario Booysen calmed him down, stressing the need to simply play his normal game and to stay disciplined.
“The coach [Stuart Baxter] gave me certain responsibilities, but also emphasised that I must play to my strengths and I should not worry about making mistakes, because that is normal and part and parcel of the game,” said Mbule.
“I think that is why I performed the way I did. I am not satisfied, though. In fact, I am now hungrier for more success. The victory, which was a team effort, has inspired me to work even harder. I hope we can overcome Zambia and qualify for the Chan [African Nations] tournament in Kenya.”