The year of 2019 has been a rollercoaster for Mamelodi Sundowns and SA U23 international starlet, Keletso Makgalwa.
Makgalwa has endured his fair share of downs, but also some ups and in a conversation with FARPost.co.za, he’s reflected on the year.
Well, minor setbacks for major comebacks would be a fantastic way to describe the journey of the 22-year-old, the diminutive attacker was loaned out to Maritzburg United at the start of the 2018/2019 season under then coach Fadlu Davids in a hope to fill the void which was left by Lebohang Maboe, who had departed Maritzburg the previous week to join Sundowns.
With The Team Of Choice starting of the season poorly coach Davids was sacked and that’s when things started going sideways for Makgalwa as Maritzburg appointed Muhsin Ertugral as the club’s new head coach and Makgalwa never got game time under Ertugral, who himself never lasted for long after he was released following a run of poor results and failing to turn things around.
Eric Tinkler was then confirmed as the club’s new head coach replacing Ertugral and that’s when things completely collapsed for Makgalwa as he was not part of Tinkler’s plans and was eventually released by the club and sent back to Sundowns, something which Makgalwa admits was the turning point in his career.
“No, I took it as a positive thing [being released by Maritzburg] because overall like maybe I played 21 games so that’s something, so I took it as…. it’s football my man you know how football is,” shared Makgalwa.
“I told myself when I go back to Sundowns I have to work very hard I know the intensity, the game I really want so I had to correct myself here and there that’s why I’m here at Sundowns,” he said.
“Sundowns is a big team you know so yeah it shows I’ve been working very hard.”
Makgalwa revealed that Maritzburg released him so they could focus on fighting relegation with players who belonged to the club which was something he understood and winning the Telkom Knockout Cup against The Team Of Choice recently, is not something he views as revenge though he was ecstatic to win his first major trophy with Sundowns.
“It’s all about putting hard work in training and during pre-season I’ve been working very hard that’s why I’m here now as a champion, overall I’m so happy to be a champion this is my first cup final so I’m hoping more are still coming,” continued Makgalwa
Makgalwa recently helped the Under 23 National Team in Egypt to qualify for next year’s Olympic games next year which coincided with him winning the Telkom Knockout trophy with Sundowns and he says December has been a great month for him personally.
“ Yeah it’s been very good month, I’ve been celebrating yeah it’s all about hard work,” concluded Makgalwa.
By Ntobeko Mbambo