How Masango turned things around

ON FORM: Mandla Masango of ChiefsPhoto: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo  Images
ON FORM: Mandla Masango of ChiefsPhoto: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

IT was a love of football that drove Mandla Masango to continue working hard through the tough times, says Kaizer Chiefs' on-form winger.

Masango went to four goals in five games for Chiefs in Amakhosi's 1-0 win against Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.

Winger Masango, playmaker George Maluleka and George Lebese - two other under-performers finding blistering form - have formed a deadly trio that has been integral in Amakhosi going to five league and cup wins in succession.

Yet the former under-23 international winger was on the verge of being loaned out at the start of the season, having played just 16 matches in three seasons.

"There was never a time when I wanted to leave. I just want to play football, that's all. There were offers but I never wanted to go," Masango said yesterday. "Football is my life. Football motivates me. That's what kept me going."

Masango was introduced to Chiefs' first team as an 18-year- old by Muhsin Ertugral in 2007-08. Signed from lower league side Walter Stars, he always had the skill and pace, but woeful finishing plagued his game.

"I think when you come from a lower division to a team like Chiefs, it's more like a dream come true. It's not easy. Not everyone can come from grassroots level to here - you need something special," the player said.

Masango said extra time spent working alone after training has resulted in an improvement in the timing of his runs and his finishing.

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter believes confidence is behind Masango's great run of form.

"He's working hard on his timing and movement," Baxter said. "Making runs between the defenders and coming in.

"If you play straight balls to him where he's got a full-back closing him down, he's not built for that. But more and more he's getting himself free."