In an exclusive interview with Soccer Laduma this week, former Bafana Bafana international, Katlego Mphela explained why he played his best football during his time with Mamelodi Sundowns.
click through the gallery to view some images of Mphela at Sundowns.
Mphela joined Sundowns from SuperSport United in 2008, where he spent five and a half years with the Brazilians, before leaving the club to join up with Kaizer Chiefs.
Speaking in issue 1179 of Soccer Laduma, the retired centre-forward opened up about his time with Sundowns, explaining how he started getting recognised under the mentorship of Hristo Stoichkov.
“I’d say Sundowns,” the 35-year-old responded when asked about where he played his best football. “Because of the years and consistency. That’s when people started noticing me. I started getting recognised there, especially when (Hristo) Stoichkov came in. That’s when I started to fulfil my potential,” Mphela said.
“When he came in, the first person he came to was me. I was surprised. Remember that season, or the season before, Sundowns made a decision that I was going to be loaned out because I was not playing enough. They had signed all these big players, like (Sibusiso) Zuma, Mbesuma. The competition was tough, there was no chance for me.”
“I was a bit lucky with the (FIFA) Confederation Cup and, while I was there, I heard that there was a new striker. So, on my first day back at training at Sundowns, he came straight to me and said, “How old are you?” He said if there was a good offer for me, he would not stand in my way."
"But while I was still at Sundowns, he said I would be his main man. We hardly know each other and he tells me I am his main man. As a player, you are only going to fight for the guy. I’d say it was a turning point for me,” he went on to say.
To read the full exclusive interview, check out issue 1179, where Mphela also discusses:
- Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns’ chances for the Absa Premiership league title.
- More on his retirement and why he felt he needed a better goodbye
- The difference in earnings compared to overseas and local.