Mamelodi Sundowns attacker, Sibusiso Vilakazi has explained why he changed his jersey number for the new 2020/21 season.
The 31-year-old Bafana Bafana international had been donning the number 11 during his time with the Brazilians but has since changed to jersey number 24 in honour of the late Kobe Bryant.
“I wanted to change before the end of the season and for me, it was to honour my idol, Kobe Bryant. He passed away and I felt like I should use his number and relieve his memories even though he did everything on the Basketball court and my side I want to replicate that on the soccer field,” the player said as quoted on Sundowns’ official website.
“He was my inspiration, I remember when he passed on I almost broke down in tears as he was someone I looked up too and it felt like I had lost someone close to me. He has had an impact in my sporting career as I could relate to some of the things he went through like being injured and winning championships and that has also happened to me. You know having an injury and coming back as if nothing happened.”
Vilakazi is currently on the mend after picking up an injury towards the end of the 2019/20 season.
“The recovery is going well as I am busy on the mend. In football, you do not have time as you are playing at a high level and there are quality players who are ready to fill the space and the space is small because of the players that are around. We tend to think we have time whereas we do not have, these days you get injured and you must work harder to get back into the team,” the player added.