How booed Vilakazi got to laugh last

Sundowns midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi got to repay the belief Pitso Mosimane had in him this season.
Sundowns midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi got to repay the belief Pitso Mosimane had in him this season.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Playing for Mamelodi Sundowns comes with its own challenges. For Sibusiso Vilakazi, he's had his share of troubles, but now he's a PSL champion.

Arriving at the Chloorkop-based side two seasons ago, the former Bidvest Wits attacker struggled in his first season, the 2016/17 campaign, scoring only four goals in 14 Absa Premiership games.

But he's found some form by winning his maiden Absa Premiership title with the Brazilians.

Looking relaxed and all smiles as Sowetan spoke to him outside the dressing rooms of Dr Molemela Stadium after their goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic, the 28-year-old was relieved to have gone from being a target of the "boo boys" to lifting the trophy.

"It's an amazing experience and it shows the hard work we've been putting in as a team. It's hugs all round," said Vilakazi, who scored six league goals and contributed three assists in 22 Premiership appearances this season.

"We had our difficult times, but we were eventually able to turn the corner.

"There's a difference between last season and this season for me, personally. It's much better, but I would have liked to do more," he said.

The Bafana Bafana international was on the receiving end of boos after he missed a glorious chance in the 1-0 win against Golden Arrows at Loftus Stadium last month. He picked himself up and today he wakes up with a league medal around his neck.

"It's great that the coach [Pitso Mosimane] continued to show faith in me at a time when he was aware of the booing. I like playing with pressure.

"There were times whereby I fought with myself, because I knew very well that there were games I didn't perform. There were times when I found fans booing me and that changed everything. It was motivation more than anything, because I also knew I could have done better.

"It was a wake up call and it shows my mental strength, because I don't think many players can come back from [being booed]. They would probably just drop their heads, but for me, strange as it may sound, I had been waiting for a moment where I would be booed and see how I handle the challenge."

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