Mkhulise sets new target as he looks to improve

'My numbers are not good for an attacking player'

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Sphelele Mkhulise of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Sphelele Mkhulise of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Having scored a measly five goals from 73 appearances since he made his top-flight debut three years ago, Mamelodi Sundowns ace Sphelele Mkhulise has admitted his statistics are not impressive for an attacking player.

In the past two seasons, the 25-year-old Mkhulise has proven to be one of the key players in Sundowns’ style of play, that’s characterised by patient build-ups where creative players like him outsmart opponents mainly through dropping into pockets of spaces.

The lad from Impendle, near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, broke into the Premiership scenes in January 2019. Five goals and two assists from 73 games in all competitions since making his top-flight debut is not a satisfactory return for an offensive-minded player, Mkhulise has conceded.

“I accept that I have to improve my stats. My numbers are not good at all, especially for an attacking player. I understand that most of the time offensive players are judged by goals and assists, so I must pull up my socks,’’ Mkhulise told Sowetan.

“You can’t be the best player when you don’t score goals while you’re playing in an advanced position. I can’t be playing for the sake of it, so I fully understand that I must work on scoring and assisting. I have set myself a target [in terms of a goal tally] for the new season and I am positive I will achieve it.’’

Mkhulise was reluctant to detail his goal tally target for the 2021/22 term. “If I tell you how many goals I am targeting to score, people will say ‘now this boy is mad’ because I have lofty individual goals. I can’t reveal details.’’

While still at the topic of setting individual goal target, the writer jogged Mkhulise’s memory that at the start of last season his teammate Kermit Erasmus made it known he wanted 30 goals, but ended up scoring just six from 26 matches on all fronts.

“No, Kermit was affected by injuries. He didn’t fail at all [Erasmus did admit that he failed]. I believe he will come back stronger and score those 30 goals this season,’’ said Mkhulise of Erasmus’ botched ambitions of last term.

Stats box of Mkhulise’s seasons across all competitions in the top-flight

2018/19: played four games and never scored nor assisted

19/20: played 34 games, scored four times and grabbed two assists

20/21 featured in 30 games and managed just only one goal

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