It may seem like a huge responsibility on his young shoulders to be both captain of the reserve team and still get to rub shoulders with his Mamelodi Sundowns seniors, but Promise Mkhuma doesn’t have to look that far for inspiration.
“It’s been an honour to be a leader of the reserve team, and I am happy with it. I have always enjoyed taking responsibility and the fight that comes with it,” says the 20-year-old who was promoted to the first team in January.
“I always looked up to Percy Tau – he is a role model and inspired many young footballers. As a young captain, looking at Hlompho Kekana on and off the field brings a lot of lessons: hard work, communication, responsibility and the winning mentality. You can tell he doesn’t want to lose, any day or any time.”
As far as role models go, Mkhuma has luxury in his selection with Tau, the club’s reserve team graduate now on the books of English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion and spent a season on loan at Club Brugge in Belgium, where he won the championship.
Like Kekana, the junior international was also recently handed a long-term contract when his promotion to the senior team was confirmed earlier this year.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the team for this opportunity. What matters now in these next five years is to add value, achieve goals – and I would love to see myself playing in the CAF tournaments and helping bring another star. I also want to help the team win as many trophies as possible,” adds Mkhuma.
While he waits for his official senior team debut, the attacker continues to give his all for the MDC team as he sharpens his razor to impress coach Pitso Mosimane.
“It looks easy when watching the game, but it’s tough,” Mkhuma explains.
“Recently, the hardest games I faced were both against Orlando Pirates. We drew 2-2 in the first round and lost 1-0 in the second. Those were the games I had to take a lot of responsibility, show character and motivate the team at all cost. I scored an equaliser with a free kick and gained confidence. I can mention other games, too, but those were the hardest.”