Mphela goes extra mile

THE last player one would expect to resume training a week earlier after the festive season break has to be the Absa Premiership League's leading goalscorer.

THE last player one would expect to resume training a week earlier after the festive season break has to be the Absa Premiership League's leading goalscorer.

But that is exactly what Katlego Mphela of Mamelodi Sundowns has been up to since Monday, despite being expected to only show up next Monday, like the rest of his teammates. He has been training by himself, working through the individual training programme handed to him before the league break.

Clearly "Killer" is in no mood to relinquish his place as the frontrunner in the race to claim the tempting first-prize cheque of R100000 guaranteed to the player who can score 25 goals or more.

Of course, that kind of haul will also strengthen Mphela's position as Bafana Bafana's undisputed No 1 striker, an enviable position that has not had many takers since the heady days of one Benni McCarthy.

"I know I tend to struggle with my fitness more than other players, hence the early start. It's unbelievably easy for me to gain weight. And let's face it, I'd like to continue scoring. As a matter of fact, I should have scored about 20 goals already had I not missed a lot of chances," Mphela said.

Punters have noted that partnered with a surge in confidence, there has also been a noticeable improvement in Mphela's technique, something he says he owes to one-time Sundowns scoring machine Daniel "Mambush" Mudau, who chips in now and again.

Would he want to break Mudau's record of 172 goals that still stands today?

"Unlikely, but it is something to work towards if I stay with the team," he said.

Mphela's understanding with fellow striker Mabhuti Khenyeza has been key - and there is no doubting his sincerity when he raves about Khenyeza.

"He keeps the defenders busy while I make my move. I actually think that is why he does not score as much as he would like to.

"But I've created about 20percent of my goals.

"These are the fruits of good training I was lucky enough to benefit from as a young boy."

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