Sundowns Promote Makgalwa and Mukumela30/Aug/2017 18:47
The pair from Limpopo, Keletso Makgalwa and Thendo Mukumela, have represented South Africa at junior level. They’ve already started training with the first team of the African champions. Mukumela was handed jersey No. 34 and Makgalwa will don No. 35.
Makgalwa (20), from Mokopane, joins the first team after a brilliant season with the MultiChoice Diski Challenge side that he inspired to winning the trophy that had eluded the Brazilians. For his efforts, Makgalwa walked away with the tournament’s Player of the Season award.
“I am happy that I have been promoted to the first team because supporters used to call me almost every day and send me messages, asking when is coach Pitso Mosimane promoting you to the first team,” Makgalwa said. “Those people are looking forward to seeing me in the first team. This season will be about learning for me. But if I get a chance I will grab it with both hands.”
The confident midfielder – with a brilliant first touch, speed and skills to take on defenders – is excited to be learning from some of the best players in the country.
“It’s a huge motivation to play alongside players like Khama Billiat, George Lebese, Percy Tau, Oupa Manyisa and others. I want to be at their level too one day which is why I am prepared to work hard,” Makgalwa said.
Mukumela (19) joins the first team with two World Cup appearances under his belt, with the national Under-17 team in Chile and national Under-20 team in South Korea. He also represented the senior national team in the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers and the Cosafa Cup.
“Playing for the first team is a dream come true,” Mukumela said. “I am excited about this opportunity. Everything has been good. The tempo is high. Obviously graduating to the first team is a huge leap but I am prepared to work hard to settle into the team. I am ready to be in the starting line-up and I am ready to show the world what is it that I can do.”
The lanky defender who stands at almost 2m is versatile, able to play in central midfield, centreback, rightback and even has a knack for scoring goals.
“I have played in various positions from a young age,” Mukumela said. “Surprisingly, I do well in almost all of them. I can play at rightback. When I joined the national Under-17 team I played in central midfield and they converted me to centreback. When I arrived at Sundowns in 2015, I started out as a striker. We went to Kay Motsepe Cup and I scored 11 goals in six games. I am waiting for the coach to tell me where he wants me to play and I will master that position.”
These two youngsters will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Percy Tau and Motjeka Madisha who went from playing for the reserve team to winning the CAF Champions League.