Mamelodi Sundowns striker Sibusiso Vilakazi has explained why he has decided to change his jersey number in the 2020/21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign.
The Soweto-born footballer was wearing jersey number 11 in the previous seasons. However, the Masandawana star made a U-turn this season as he decided to wear jersey number 24 in honour of his idol, 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 relive his memories even though he did everything on the Basketball court and my side I want to replicate that on the soccer field,” Vilakazi told the Mamelodi Sundowns website.
The former Bidvest Wits man went on to say that he drew inspiration from Bryant and he remembers when how he almost broke down in tears when he first heard about the passing of the basketball star.
“I 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, ” he added.
Villa, as he is popularly known, is currently on the mend as he was injured during a clash against Baroka. However, he has started light training.
“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,” Vilakazi said in his closing remarks.
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By Mauwane Raophala