Ge­orge’s hard work pays off for Amakhosi

The Mercury - - SPORT - Minenhle Mkhize

GE­ORGE Maluleka has yet to reach his full po­ten­tial since mak­ing a big move to Kaizer Chiefs, and that is one of the rea­sons he has not been a reg­u­lar mem­ber for Bafana Bafana.

He showed glimpses of his abil­ity dur­ing Stu­art Bax­ter’s ten­ure as Amakhosi coach, when he formed the ‘Malema’ at­tack­ing tri­umvi­rate with Mandla Masango and Ge­orge Lebese. Con­sis­tency has been one of the ma­jor prob­lems in his game but in the past four matches he has looked re­ju­ve­nated.

Maluleka has cred­ited his new-found form to se­nior team­mates and coach Steve Kom­phela.

He won a Man-of-the-Match award for a ster­ling dis­play that helped Amakhosi thump AmaZulu 3-0 in the Telkom Knock­out at the week­end. Prior to that he had also im­pressed in Chiefs’ de­feat of Mamelodi Sun­downs.

“A lot of hard work has re­ally contributed to my form. The coach has had a few chats with me. My team­mates, es­pe­cially Wil­lard Kat­sande and Shabba (Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala), have been very in­flu­en­tial as well.

“Most of the se­nior play­ers have played a role in my per­for­mance this sea­son. I think the team as the whole, they know how to get best out of me,” Maluleka said in ex­plain­ing the rea­son be­hind his good form.

He will have to show the same de­ter­mi­na­tion when Chiefs take on Polok­wane City at Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium tonight.

“It is go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult one. We are work­ing very hard. It won’t be easy but the good thing is that Peter Mok­aba is one of our happy hunt­ing grounds,” Maluleka said.

Chiefs are in fourth po­si­tion on the Absa Pre­mier­ship ta­ble, and are still search­ing for a first piece of sil­ver­ware un­der Kom­phela’s guid­ance.

“We want to go all the way (in the Telkom Knock­out). What­ever is out there we want to take it,” Maluleka said.

Maluleka and Co will have to beat Chippa United on Sun­day to progress to the penul­ti­mate stage of a com­pe­ti­tion they have won a record 13 times, although they haven’t won the cup in seven years.

De­spite his club form, Maluleka has only rep­re­sented his coun­try on six oc­ca­sions at se­nior level.

The ma­jor­ity of play­ers he played with at the Un­der20 World Cup in 2009 in Egypt are reg­u­lars at Bafana Bafana. Does his fail­ure to crack the nod bother him much?

“Not at all, not at all, I’m not dis­ap­pointed. I think the guys are do­ing well at the mo­ment, which gives me an op­por­tu­nity to work hard, look at my­self in the mir­ror and see where I can im­prove as a player. But dis­ap­point­ment no! I am fully sup­port­ive of them. I’m friends with most of them. So it is an spur for me to work on my game and grow bet­ter as a player.”

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