Olwethu has his eye on AmaZulu's No 1 jersey

Goalkeeper Olwethu Mzimela of AmaZulu, here in action for the side's MDC team, made a name for himself when he won player of the tournament accolade at last year's Engine Knockout Challenge./Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix
Goalkeeper Olwethu Mzimela of AmaZulu, here in action for the side's MDC team, made a name for himself when he won player of the tournament accolade at last year's Engine Knockout Challenge./Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

Promising AmaZulu keeper Olwethu Mzimela is ready to topple his idol Siyabonga Mbatha and claim the No1 jersey.

Mzimela, 18, was promoted to the senior side of AmaZulu from the MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) in October after a number of stellar performances in the reserve league.

Barely two months into the top flight, Mzimela is already feeling well-equipped to oust Mbatha, whom he looks up to as his role model.

"My role model is Siya [Mbatha]. I cannot hide that I look up to him.

"I know I have to be better than him to play for the first team, but I think I am up for the task now . to taste playing in the Premiership," said the soft-spoken Mzimela, who's not related to ex-Usuthu keeper Mbongeni Mzimela.

"Siya always tells me that I am even better than him . that motivates me a lot. Playing in the MDC has helped me grow as a player . now I want people to see that growth at a higher level."

The lad from Lamontville in Durban made a name for himself when he won the goalkeeper of the tournament and player of the tournament accolades at last year's Engine Knockout Challenge. He also scooped five man of the match gongs in as many reserve league matches this season.

Interestingly, Mzimela had a spell at AmaZulu's arch-rivals Golden Arrows, a club that's based in his township of Lamontville.

It was his unrivalled acrobatic and decisive saves that caught the attention of Usuthu, who lured him from Abafana Bes'thende when he was just 12 years old.

"I started at Arrows, but I stayed two years there. I left Arrows in 2013 when I got a good offer from AmaZulu," said the travel and tourism first-year student at Coastal College in Durban.

Mzimela is currently in Zambia with Amajita for the Under-20 Cosafa Championship. SA are in Group B alongside Mauritius, Madagascar and Lesotho.

The Helman Mkhalele-coached side are the defending champions, starting their title defence against Mauritius this afternoon (5.30pm).

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