Fu­ture look­ing bright

Mahlambi’s am­bi­tion is to make a name for him­self in the ‘big’ leagues

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE busy with. At any time I might have them. I’m telling peo­ple they will see a dif­fer­ent Baroka this sea­son,” Mam­mila ex­plained. Charis­matic coach Kgoloko Thobe­jane will re­main in charge. “Thobe­jane is stay­ing and will be as­sisted by McDon

BID­VEST Wits speedy winger Phaka­mani Mahlambi is too am­bi­tious for his age, but who can blame the young lad from Kwa-Zulu-Natal?

Right af­ter win­ning the red-hot PSL Young Player of the Sea­son Mahlambi set his sight on em­u­lat­ing his for­mer team­mate Kea­gan Dolly.

Mahlambi (19) who has taken South African foot­ball by storm, played along­side Dolly at the School of Ex­cel­lence, Na­tional Un­der-23 team and at Bafana Bafana level.

This young man from Ngoje in Vry­heid is in Por­tu­gal where he is be­ing as­sessed by Vi­to­ria de Guimaraes.

Guimaraes are cam­paign­ing in the top flight in Por­tu­gal. Last sea­son they reached the fi­nal of the Taca de Por­tu­gal (The equiv­a­lent of the FA Cup in Eng­land, or our lo­cal Ned­bank Cup) where they were beaten 2-1 by Ben­fica.

Bafana star mid­fielder Bongani Zungu is also at the club.

Dolly is do­ing well in France, play­ing for Mont­pel­lier FC, hav­ing joined them in Jan­uary af­ter help­ing Sun­downs to their Caf Cham­pi­ons League tri­umph.

Like Mahlambi, Dolly won the PSL Young Player of the Sea­son, just two sea­sons ago.

“We’ve walked on the same path with Kea­gan. We played to­gether at the School of Ex­cel­lence and we went on to be team­mates at na­tional level with the Un­der-23s. Re­cently we were to­gether at Bafana Bafana. For me, win­ning the Young Player of the Sea­son award mo­ti­vated me to do even bet­ter than Kea­gan has achieved,” Mahlambi elab­o­rated.

Mahlambi played a piv­otal role in Wits league glory last sea­son, dur­ing the sec­ond half of the cam­paign.

“Ob­vi­ously ev­ery player wants to play over­seas and I also have that am­bi­tion. I want to ex­pe­ri­ence top foot­ball in the great­est leagues in the world. My dream is to com­pete with the great­est play­ers in Europe. The de­sire to make my mark over­seas is huge,” Mahlambi ex­plained be­fore jet­ting out to Por­tu­gal.

“It is a great hon­our for me to be cho­sen as the best in South Africa. This is my first PSL award and I have no doubt it will boost my con­fi­dence go­ing for­ward. It is a fan­tas­tic priv­i­lege for me,” Mahlambi ex­plained.

The young lad from KZN played a lim­ited num­ber of games last sea­son, hav­ing sus­tained an hor­rific in­jury to­wards the end of 2015/16 sea­son which kept him out of the game for the while.

“It shows that peo­ple re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate my tal­ent and the work that I do when­ever I’m in the field of play. It means a lot to me to be cho­sen as the young star de­spite the fact I played few games be­cause of an in­jury,” Mahlambi lamented.

Mahlambi has played two sea­sons in top flight foot­ball but he is al­ready a star and the fu­ture looks bright for him.

“If I’m still here next sea­son I hope that I will be able to win some of the cups that I haven’t won in this coun­try,” Mahlambi said.

He has al­ready won two tro­phies in two sea­sons as a pro­fe­sional foot­baller, boast­ing the league-win­ners’ medal and the MTN 8 crown.

“As player I know what I need to do in or­der to suc­ceed and I also know what I need to avoid in or­der to keep grow­ing as a foot­baller. Foot­ball is a short ca­reer, there­fore I have to be­have and stay fo­cussed to pro­long my play­ing days. It is up to me to look to my fu­ture. I have good sur­round­ings. Suc­cess will not go in to my head, I know I have to stay grounded to stay con­sis­tent,” Mahlambi con­cluded. STAY­ING PUT: Thabiso Ku­tumela won’t be leav­ing Or­lando Pi­rates de­spite ef­forts by Baroka FC to get him back.

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