For a 19-year-old, staying grounded while receiving constant praise could prove to be a big challenge.
Put yourself in the shoes of Mamelodi Sundowns starlet, Promise Mkhuma.
Week in and week out, many in the Brazilians’ corner are singing the praises of the Etwatwa-born, Daveyton, forward.
Mkhuma, however, is well aware that fulfilling his dream of being in the first team, and pleasing the supporters, is easier said than done.
“Yeah, being in the senior team, I mean it is not as easy as people think it is,” Mkhuma opened up to FARPost.co.za.
“But hearing people praising me, I feel happier because I take it as a motivation. I personally believe that I have to keep on working hard and take information from my coaches because they know my strengths and weaknesses. I have to put focus on strengthening my weaknesses and keep pushing.”
In his third season playing in the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) for the Downs reserves, as well as being given the honour to captain the team, the great free kick taker is enjoying the experience, as he continues to make steady progress in his career.
“Okay, playing in the MDC is great since we get exposure mostly through (the live games) and there’s entertainment. But it’s not as easy as people think it is,” he insisted.
“I do feel more special because of being a leader of my team
and with the experience I have playing in this league since the year 2016.”
Mkhuma who is already on 8 goals and 4 assists in the current campaign and is, without a doubt, one of the most consistent players in the Asidlali League.
For the Sundowns supporters who are hoping he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Percy Tau, who played in the MDC and went on to contribute immensely to the Tshwane side before a switch to Europe, they would be relieved to hear Mkhuma’s assurance that he’s doing everything he can to ensure success in future.
“For me consistency is starting from taking care of my body, knowing when to rest when I am given off and when to sleep, adapting to the time zone that goes with the weather conditions. I mean we play at 10am, 12pm and sometimes 3pm,” he explained.
“Those are the challenges but I am used to the conditions and lastly obviously getting proper training from our coaches and all the technical staff, focusing on my mistakes and try to fix them during training sessions really helps to maintain consistency. All in all I believe in hard work, I know if I put in hard work then the chances of me having good games are higher.”
While many are curious why he hasn’t made his breakthrough into the first team, the youngster is still positive that it would happen sooner rather than later.
“God’s timing – my time will come.”
When that time comes, he would be hoping he can emulate Tau, who’s his inspiration.
“We are talking about my role model because looking back on how he got where he is now, it was a long journey with ups and downs and that has taught me to become humble. Everyone has their time.”
“I just keep on watching him whenever he plays because I wanna reach his stage and go far,” concluded Mkhuma, who has his sights on playing in the English Premiership.
By Amahle Siphungu