Downs swoop for Mphahlele
TRANSNET Football School of Excellence captain Thuto Mphahlele is on the verge of realising his dream of turning professional - though he is focusing on finishing school first.
Mphahlele is joining Mamelodi Sundowns in January after impressing their technical staff at the Under-19 Cup in Bloemfontein last week.
Originally from North West, Mphahlele played a huge role in helping Excellence win the tournament, which offers the winners R1-million.
"I have no idea what you are talking about, it's news to me. Nobody has approached me about that yet," said Mphahlele, who is in Grade 12.
A source close to Sundowns' technical department, who was in Bloemfontein for the tournament, said they had already agreed terms with Mphahlele.
"The youngster is on board. We agreed to allow him to prepare for his final examinations and he will be joining Sundowns in the new year.
"He is a great player with lots of potential. When we first saw him, there was no need to take another look because he is simply the best.
"There are other youngsters from this tournament that we are going to sign but I can't mention names at this stage, otherwise other PSL clubs will snatch them before we complete the paperwork."
Mphahlele is hoping to follow in the footsteps of successful Excellence graduates like Steven Pienaar, Dominic Isaacs, Masilo Modubi, Daine Klate, Dillon Sheppard, Brent Carelse and Brett Evans.
Sundowns boss Patrice Motsepe - who sponsors the tournament in honour of his late mother - commended the South African Schools Football Association for its sterling work in helping to develop young soccer players.
"They are doing a wonderful job, we need to work closely with our teachers to ensure that school sport is a resounding success," said Motsepe.