Sundowns' key man Tebogo Langerman content with flying under the radar
For the better part of his highly successful seven years at Mamelodi Sundowns‚ defender Tebogo Langerman has pretty much been hiding in plain sight.
The plaudits always went the direction of Teko Modise‚ Percy Tau‚ Bongani Zungu‚ Keegan Dolly‚ Themba Zwane‚ Sibusiso Vilakazi and Gaston Sirino‚ but he is happy to go about his business quietly.
Though he is content with flying under the radar‚ the 32-year-old Langerman has been a key member of coach Pitso Mosimane’s side and is one of the most decorated footballers in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) with five league titles.
He has also won the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup titles twice‚ and helped Sundowns to lift the 2016 Caf Champions League and Caf Super Cup.
But the only competition that has eluded him so far is the MTN8.
If this season continues‚ Langerman stands a chance of adding a third Nedbank Cup winners medal to his impressive collection as the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic with the Brazilians facing a semifinal date against Bidvest Wits.
“I am very proud of my five league titles even though I don’t like talking about it‚” he said as he reflected on a successful professional career that took him from Wits to SuperSport United and finally Sundowns.
Langerman‚ who won his first league title when he was with SuperSport in 2010 and four with Sundowns under Mosimane‚ said his wish is to get his sixth league medal.
“I will be bitterly disappointed if this season is not completed because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and I don’t get the opportunity to fight for the sixth one.
"As a team we have the belief that we can win this title because we were beginning to find some consistency before the season was suspended.
"There was a strong feeling among the players because we know that in the last few matches of the season we can go all out.
“I still want to win things‚ go back to the Fifa Club World Cup because it was an amazing experience.
"The other big one for me is the MTN8 because that is the only medal that I don’t have.
"The sixth league medal is also important to add to the two Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup medals‚ and also to the Champions League and the Super Cup.”
He may be among the longest-serving players at Sundowns together with Anthony Laffor and close friend Hlompho Kekana but the player admitted that his intention was never to stay for too long at Chloorkop.
“It has been long seven and a bit years since I arrived from SuperSport and to be honest didn’t expect to stay for this long‚" he said.
"I wanted to stay for at least two seasons and then go overseas.
"There were a few offers for me to go overseas but Sundowns were always quick to renew my contract.
"Every time I was left with one year‚ they gave me an extension of three years and I took it.
“At the same time‚ I am not surprised that I stayed for this long here at Sundowns because I have always believed in myself that I am good player.
"I am a quiet person but my confidence is very high. I do a lot of mental visualization and those kinds of things and sometimes I can get angry when you rub me the wrong way.”
Langerman thanked former coaches Roger de Sa‚ Gavin Hunt‚ Johan Neeskens and Mosimane for the roles they played in his development.
“All the teams that I have played for from Wits‚ SuperSport United and now‚ I am mostly in the first eleven but I must say that it was difficult here at Sundowns in my first season.
"I had to do extra work and Johan Neeskens helped me a lot to settle.
"He always encouraged me because I was competing with guys like Punch Masenamela and Elias Ngoepe on the left.
“Neeskens made me to believe in myself‚ he told me that he signed me because of my talent and that lifted my spirit.
"When coach Pitso came in‚ he also added to what Neekens did for me.
"Pitso was my first black coach and communication with him was much better because I could speak to him like my father.
"He also played a huge role in my career as much as Roger de Sa did.”