Nyatama, Letsholonyane help Highlands Park's Mvala to shine
The Highlands Park anchor was the centre of attention towards the end of last season, attracting interest from Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.
However, the Lions of the North hung on to their Footballer of the Season, with him having signed a new long-term deal. Mvala has since inspired the club to the MTN8 final, where they succumbed 1-0 to SuperSport United in October.
Soon thereafter, he received a call-up to Bafana Bafana for their friendly match against Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in coach Molefi Ntseki’s first game in charge.
Since then, though, he feels that he has blown hot and cold for the remainder of the first half of the season.
“In the beginning I don’t think that I started well. But with the help of the coach and senior players, I’ve managed to get my momentum back. There were games where I played well and games where I didn’t. I lacked consistency,” Mvala told IOL Sport.
“In the second round, I’ve tried my best to help the team so that they can get points. So, all in all, I am happy with my progress. The way the coach spoke to me together with the senior players was helpful for my progress. It was also helpful to do extra training.”
Mvala might have been an integral figure of the team for the past four seasons but he needs guidance and support from his teammates when the chips are down. He’s getting that from experienced campaigners such as Musa Nyatama and Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who joined the team this season.
Thanks to their achievements over the years, the pair have since been Mvala’s role models and that’s why the 25-year-old midfielder is hoping to reach and surpass their level in South African football in the near future.
“Their arrival has really helped us as a team. They’ve allowed us to play with more confidence as a team. Yeye (Letsholonyane) played in the World Cup in 2010 and he won trophies with Chiefs. Those are the guys that we grew up watching,” Mvala said.
“Having them in the change room is something special. I remember the season where Chiefs were winning trophies. We always try to share a moment. They always encourage me to go forward. They are very humble and having them in the team is a good thing.”
With the league in recess due to the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the country to a standstill, it remains to be seen whether the Lions of North will be able to hit the ground running should the season resume.