Nicholus Lukhubeni a beacon of hope for Kraaipan
While becoming a regular tops his short-term wish-list, Mamelodi Sundowns right-back Nicholus Lukhubeni is also determined to be a good role model to the people of his hometown of Kraaipan in the North West.
Lukhubeni, 24, is the second professional footballer from Kraaipan, after troublesome Fusi Moalusi, who used to play for Moroka Swallows in the early 2000s.
Moalusi infamously hogged headlines after being arrested near Mahikeng for allegedly robbing a bank in Kraaipan in 2001.
The scarcity of PSL players from his village inspires the Downs full-back prodigy to make the most of the opportunity of playing professionally, aiming to represent Kraaipan with pride to give fellow locals some hope.
"Where I come from, I am the first person to play in the PSL since Moalusi. People back home look at me as a great example [of the fact] that in life you can achieve your goals irrespective of where you come from," Lukhubeni told Sowetan.
"To be currently the only person playing in the PSL from Kraaipan motivates me a lot. I don't want to disappoint my community, I want them to always see me as a beacon of hope. I am representing not only myself, but the whole Kraaipan area."
Lukhubeni made his elite league debut in November last year when Sundowns lost 2-3 away to Golden Arrows in a league match, where he came off the bench to play just four minutes.
However, it was in his third league match against Chippa United where the lad from Kraaipan announced his arrival in spectacular fashion, grabbing his first top-flight goal in that 3-0 win in February.
So far, Lukhubeni has made six appearances across the league and the Nedbank Cup.
"My main goal is to play more games. I want to cement my place in the team," noted Lukhubeni.
The defender was promoted to the Sundowns senior team from the club's feeder side M Tigers, that campaigned in the third tier, last year.
Before joining M Tigers in 2016, Lukhubeni had a brief spell with Highlands Park. The Downs defender also turned out for the likes of Old Eds, Balfour Alexandra FC and Godisanang FC, among others at amateur level.