Motjeka Madisha celebrates after scoring for Sundowns in a Premiership game. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - The MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) winners’ medal that Motjeka Madisha received with Mamelodi Sundowns’ reserves means more to him than his CAF Champions League gold medal.

The 22-year-old centre-back captained the Brazilians to glory in the reserve league earlier this year to give the club the only domestic trophy that had eluded their cabinet. That trophy came just three months after Sundowns had won the biggest trophy in club football on the continent.

Madisha only played one game in the Champions League, a dead-rubber against Enyimba in Nigeria after Sundowns had already booked a place in the semi-finals.

“I see my Caf Champions League medal as just another medal because I wasn’t part of the team that won it,” Madisha said. “For me to rejoice in having any medal, I should have played at least 40 percent of the games. 

"For now, I don’t see the Champions League winner’s medal as an achievement on my part. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value it has and I am glad to have been a part of the Sundowns team that made history. But on a personal note, that medal doesn’t mean much to me. I didn’t earn it. It was handed to me.”

Madisha continued: “The MDC medal, on the other hand, means more to me because I not only captained the team to that success but I also played a big part and featured in all our games. The MDC also helped me improve, and that allowed me to be more comfortable in the first team when my chance came.”

Now that Madisha has settled into the first team, featuring in all their games this season, the youngster is looking to earn this year’s Champions League winners’ medal by helping the Brazilians retain their trophy.

Sundowns host Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca on Sunday at Lucas Moripe Stadium in the first leg of the quarter-finals. In a bid to create a festive atmosphere the club has decided to let fans wearing yellow get a free entrance while others will pay R20.

“I want to earn this medal this time around. If we could go all the way and win the Champions League, it would be a great thing because as a youngster playing and winning at this level will motivate me to keep going and win more big prizes.”

This match against the 19-time Moroccan champions will be a big test for Madisha who has fitted comfortably in the Brazilians’ back four. His leadership qualities, having captained the national Under-20 team, have come to the fore as he brings a calming influence when partnered with the erratic Soumahoro Bangaly.

Madisha has mistakes of his own though, like being too casual at the back which has seen him lose the ball in dangerous areas. Another area that he needs to improve on is being more vocal. His drive to be better than his last match will see him improve. That drive pushed him to fight from being on the brink of his way out of Sundowns to being a regular.

“Growth always comes with certain discomforts,” Madisha said. “How you react from those discomforts says a lot about the type of person you are. I never lost hope of playing for Sundowns. I knew that when given a chance, I would shine.”

The Star

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