The 28-year-old had a slow start at the Brazilians since joining them from Bidvest Wits two years ago. But this season has seen him come out of his shell to look a lot like the Vilakazi who was crowned king of South African football in 2014.
“You say that I am doing well but that’s not good enough for me,” Vilakazi said.
“Doing well means not only doing well personally but also helping the team. The lead that we have ahead of Pirates in the league isn’t too much. I criticise myself for that. If I was doing very, very well the gap would at least be 10 points or more and not just one. That’s the same attitude that every player in the team has. At this moment we are doing okay, which is why Pirates think that they might win the league. They want to win it, forget what they have been saying. Why would anyone play for the championship without wanting to win it?”
Vilakazi continued, “What is good for most teams isn’t good enough for us. Having a coach who always pushes me to make me a better player helps me to keep doing well. I consistently look at areas I need to improve on more than I look at what I have been doing well. I know that attitude will take my game to the next level. I am not easily satisfied.”
He isn’t satisfied with the number of titles he has won in his almost decade-long professional career. The lad from Soweto has only lifted one trophy, the 2010 Nedbank Cup with the Clever Boys. He is hoping to do that again in May with Sundowns. But first the Brazilians have to get past Cape Town City this afternoon at Cape Town Stadium in the quarter-finals.
“At this point I wish that I had 10 league titles so that I can say that you are one of the greatest,” Vilakazi said. “That’s still doable because of the team that I am in with the coach that we have who constantly pushes us. We can do it. I want to win more trophies than what I have currently achieved.”
The Nedbank Cup is not the only trophy Sundowns have their sights on. The Tshwane side is in pole position in the Absa Premiership race, a point ahead of the Buccaneers and also with a game to spare. There is also the Caf Champions League that sees Sundowns grouped with reigning African champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, AS Togo-Port and Guinea’s Horoya. The push to succeed in every competition Downs are involved in is different to the culture Vilakazi left at Wits.
“It’s exciting,” Vilakazi said. “When you start saying you want to win everything, it creates motivation for the whole team. When you mention the Champions League, the volume goes up. When you mention the Fifa Club World Cup, the reaction is on another level, and to go there you have to win the Champions League which means firstly winning your domestic league. That winning culture is really great.”