Dynamic Mbule firing up SuperSport
JOHANNESBURG - Having waited on the wings in the last two seasons, SuperSport United dynamic midfielder Sipho Mbule says he’s ready to be an invaluable asset and contribute more to the team this term.
Mbule introduced himself in top-flight football when he scored a screamer in SuperSport’s 2-1 loss to TP Mazambe in the final of the Confederation Cup first leg in the Democratic Republic of Congo late in 2017.
However, his light didn’t shine brighter in the next 18 months, dimmed by the experience of Reneilwe Letsholonyane in the engine room.
But when Letsholonyane left the club at the end of last season the 21-year-old took his game up a notch this season, playing 19 matches, scoring three goals and registering one assist in domestic football.
Mbule’s contribution inspired Matsatsantsa a Pitori to the MTN8 crown, while they are second on the log standings with 21 points, 10 behind pace-setters Kaizer Chiefs, who’ve played a game less.
The Bethlehem-born footballer is pleased with the season he’s had so far, but believes there’s room for improvement.
“I am happy with my season so far. But I think, personally, I can do better. I think I can do more to help the team going forward - by scoring and creating more goals. There’s always room for improvement,” he said.
Mbule may be on everybody’s lips about his impressive exploits so far this season, but he’s grateful to a childhood friend for being his knight in shining armour over the years.
Teboho Mokoena, also born in Bethlehem, also cut his football teeth with Mbule at the Harmony Sports Academy (now known as Virginia Sports Academy).
Mokoena joined SuperSport Academy first, before Mbule followed a season later. And that childhood understanding has seen the duo grow in leaps and bounds to inspire SuperSport to be forces to be reckoned with in top-flight football this season.
Moreover, Mokoena and Mbule’s partnership recently inspired the SA Under-23 team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing third in the CAF eight-nation tournament in Egypt.
Mbule though has credited the man who discovered him and Mokoena at the age of 12 and 13 years in the dusty streets of Bethlehem.
“Myself and Teboho are very close. We know each other in and out, he knows my strong points and weaknesses, and I know his,” he said.
“We’ve been playing together for almost eight years having started at Harmony Academy in 2013. And I think we’ve developed well and all credit must all go to Pitso Mokoena.
“When we grew up, it’s what we wanted. We wanted to come to Johannesburg, become flag bearers of Free State and show that we can do it.”
Mbule, who’s already tipped to succeed Mokoena as the Premiership’s Young Player of the Season, will be hoping to continue with his rich vein of form when SuperSport welcomes Highlands Park to the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium tonight (8.15pm).@Mihlalibaleka