DURBAN – Phakamani Mahlambi might have penned a five-year deal with Mamelodi Sundowns, but he is a man on the move.
While his big dream is to ply his trade in Europe, Mahlambi couldn’t have chosen a better team than Sundowns. The Brazilians have built a reputation for being a source of exporting young talent to top European leagues.
In the past, Sundowns have sold top talents like Nyasha Mushekwi (to Belgium), Bongani “Ben 10” Zungu (Portugal), Keagan Dolly (France) and recently Percy Tau (England) to European teams after dazzling in Chloorkop. Mahlambi wants to add his name to that list.
Sundowns coach Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane has already expressed his desire to turn Mahlambi into a complete international star and, according to Mosimane that process can take up to two years.
Asked if he still wants to go overseas, Mahlambi confidently replied: “Yes, I still want to go overseas. That is not even a question, I have to go back overseas.”
The ticket to Europe is worth consistent vigilant displays. It doesn’t cost millions, but great showings in the field of play is what it takes to attract top teams abroad.
“Right now I’m fully focused on Sundowns as I have a five-year contract. I still have a long way to go, but Sundowns will decide whether they let me go or not (to Europe). I believe that I can work on the things that I want to improve on in the five years that I’ve signed,” Mahlambi explained.
Prior to his move to Sundowns, Mahlambi was with Egyptian giants Al Ahly, but struggled for regular game time.
“I didn’t fail in Egypt. Obviously people have different opinions about certain things. For me, it is all about starting a new chapter. Where I was everything was okay, but I felt it was time for me to come back and start afresh.
I wanted to get more game time so that I can get back to my best. I want to get to a level where I was before I left the league (PSL),” he added.
Mahlambi was in red hot form before moving to Al Ahly last season. He helped Wits to their maiden league title in 2016-17. If he can reach that high note again it won’t take him long before he moves abroad.
“The standard is high now in our league. If AmaZulu can manage to score three goals against us, it goes to show the level of our league.
“There’s no small teams or big teams anymore in our league,” Mahlambi elaborated.
“The standard is the same and so is the quality of players. The hunger and the determination is what decides the result on the day. If we can produce players who can go on to play in Europe like Percy Tau who has just signed for a team in England, it is a sign that we can compete against the world.”
Mahlambi netted on debut this past weekend against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium, but doesn’t want to put himself under pressure.
“Goal-scoring is in my DNA, but scoring on debut will give me more confidence. It will inspire me to score more goals. I don’t want to put myself under pressure by revealing the number of goals that I want to score,” Mahlambi said.
“My goal is (to) score as many goals that I will make Sundowns to win more games. I want to score goals that will make our supporters and my teammates happy. So I won’t say how many goals, because people will remind me if I fail to reach that tally that I said I will. I will score what I can manage to score.”
With the departure of Tau and Khama Billiat, Mahlambi is expected to take the centre stage at Sundowns.