Dream rise: Sundowns star Mkhulise was a ball boy to Kekana and Zwane

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Sphelele Mkhulise of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates scoring a goal during the Caf Champions League match against Petro du Luanda at Loftus Versfeld on November 30, 2019.
Sphelele Mkhulise of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates scoring a goal during the Caf Champions League match against Petro du Luanda at Loftus Versfeld on November 30, 2019.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

From ball-boy to first team player, that’s the inspiring story of the highly-rated Mamelodi Sundowns attacking midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise.

The 24-year-old Mkhulise, who has been with Sundowns since 2012 when he started at the academy, has established himself as one of the key players for the Brazilians with 34 appearances in all competitions last season.

“I’ve been here since 2012, I have come far with this team,” he said as he looked back at his stay at Chloorkop where he was promoted to the first team by former coach Pitso Mosimane.

Last season, Mkhulise made 22 appearances in the league including two goals and one assist. He gained valuable Caf Champions League experience also with four appearances, two goals and one assist.

He also made three appearances each in Sundowns’ march to the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup trophies and played twice in the MTN8 at the beginning of last season.

“I have worked my way up to the first team and it has been hard work all the way,” he said.

“Some of the guys I am playing with like Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane and Tebogo Langerman have been here for a while. Funny enough, I used to be their ball boy while I was at the academy.

“But look at me now, I am sharing the same dressing room with them.”

Mkhulise played in all 11 matches for Sundowns in the bio-bubble but he was a late substitute in this season’s opening 1-0 MTN8 quarterfinal defeat to Bloemfonetein Celtic last weekend under the new coaching regime of Manqoba Mngqithi, Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena.

“I want to improve as a player and I want to play more matches so that I can have more assists because as you know assists are important. I want to improve on my scoring and I want to win more trophies with the club.

“It is a dream come true for me to play for the club and I want to work hard and show all the youngsters at the academy that if you work hard anything is possible,” he concluded.

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