Rising stars ensure Sundowns' future looks rosy

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Promise Mkhuma of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Promise Mkhuma of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu \ BackpagePix

With the recent blossoming of  academy graduates such as Keletso Makgalwa and Promise Mkhuma at Mamelodi Sundowns, the Brazilians' future appears to be in safe hands. 

Mkhuma, 20, was promoted from the MultiChoice Diski Challenge side in January, making his senior debut in the 1-1 draw against Highlands Park in the bio-bubble last month. The 23-year-old Makgalwa, who ascended to the first team in August 2017, has made more strides, with 26 top-flight games under his belt, scoring six goals in Downs colours.

Mkhuma, the SA Under-20 skipper, was one of Downs' instrumental players in the biologically safe environment (BSE), where they clinched the Premiership title with 59 points after beating Black Leopards 3-0 on the final day of the season. Mkhuma started three of the five league outings he featured in this season.

“Mkhuthuzi”, as Mkhuma is known to his peers, has heaped praise on experienced players in the team, the likes of captain Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda and Sibusiso Vilakazi, for guiding him.  “I'd say that the relationship with the senior guys [is good] ... I have a good relationship with Mabunda and Kekana,” said Mkhuma.

“They are the ones who've guided me so far ... during training and off the field, telling me how to do the right things and try to fix my mistakes and how to be calm during games. In the game against Maritzburg, I had a chat with Vila [ Vilakazi] before the game. He said to me I mustn't be too scared to take them on, I must play my normal game and not be scared of making mistakes.”

Winning his first league title just eight months into his senior career has inspired left-winger Mkhuma to want more cups. The prodigy could add his second cup if they beat Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup decider at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (8pm).

“I am excited about winning the championship in my first season. It's a great start and the gates are opening, so I am looking forward to bringing more trophies,” said Mkhuma, who's juggling football with a coaching and officiating science diploma at the Tshwane University of Technology.

“I am doing my second year. It was difficult to attend classes because of Covid-19 and we didn't have study material but now they have provided it. We learn online, most of the time we do assignments ... I have done five already. I am now waiting for my results from the first semester, but I hope I did well.”

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