Consistent Mshishi: ‘That Is Why He Is Always On Top Of His Game’

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Phikolomzi Kefile
Phikolomzi Kefile

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Themba Zwane has been lauded for his consistency following yet another achievement.

At the weekend, Mshishi won the People’s Choice Award at the 16th annual South African Sports Awards at the Sun City Superbowl in the North West.  

So far this season, the 33-year-old has featured in 28 matches in all competitions for the Brazilians and has been one of the standout performers.

Former Santos midfielder Phikolomzi Kefile, who is now a youth coach, has lauded Zwane for consistency.    

The Good   

“I was fortunate enough to have played against Themba Zwane even before he turned professional. We were playing in the Vodacom (now ABC Motsepe) League at the time. He was with M Tigers and I was with Lusitano FC. He worked his way up to Sundowns. I remember bumping up to him back in those days when he just joined Sundowns. He was saying to me that it was difficult for him to break into the starting line-up at the club. I encouraged him to be patient as he was still young. One thing that today’s youngsters who are in football can learn from Themba is to be dedicated in what they do. That guy is so consistent. For the past 10 years or so, I think Mshishi has been the most consistent player. Everything that he is achieving is from through his hard work. He is getting all the things that he getting through his dedication to the game and his discipline. We have never heard any wrong things said about Themba. He is never in the papers about the wrong things and that says a lot about his background. I always tell the kids that I am coaching to look at the players like Themba for inspiration. Themba loves what he does for a living and is never too satisfied with his previous performance and is always looking to improve. That is why he is always on top of his game. It takes a lot of hard work from training and listening to the coaches and listening from advice. He is 33 years old now and wiser and is more experienced,” said Kefile.   

Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns during DStv Prem
Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns during DStv Premiership 2022/23 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Royal AM on 14 March 2023 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium

The Bad   

“Some of the challenges that we have in our football right now are from players trying hard to impress people. Players try to change from who they are just to impress. I wish everyone can remain who they are and do things the way they know how to do them. Don’t try things that you have never done before. Just because I am at Chiefs now, I want to go around Soweto to be noticed, while I never did that before when I was at a smaller club. That’s what is happening with some of the players and they don’t have time to rest. Most of the players, especially the younger ones, are on social media,” he said.  

Al Hilal captain Mohamed Abdelrhman Yousif and Sun
Al Hilal captain Mohamed Abdelrhman Yousif and Sundowns captain Themba Zwane with the match officials during the CAF Champions League 2022/23 match between Al Hilal and Sundowns held at Al Hilal Stadium in Omdurman, Sudan on 18 March 2023

The Ugly   

“Professional footballers should always remember that they are role models. For each and everyone of them, someone out there is looking up to them for inspiration. It is our responsibility for us as well as the youth coaches to teach these kids and prepare them for professional football. With the kids that I am coaching, I work hand in hand with a psychologist to help these kids. Today’s players smoke hubbly-bubbly and that is affecting their performances. Those are the things that is killing our football because you cannot expect the same lungs to function properly when you run if you also smoke. That won’t happen. Those are the challenges that we have,” added Kefile.   

Themba Zwane of South Africa during the 2023 Afric
Themba Zwane of South Africa during the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers match between South Africa and Liberia at the Orlando Stadium, Soweto on the 24 March 2023

Setting An Example For The PSL  

“Themba is setting an example for the whole of the PSL. The guy is leaving a clean life and is dedicated to his job and that’s why things are happening for him. I wish that the likes of (Cassius) Mailula and the young (Siyabonga) Mabena, who made his professional debut at 16, can be closer to Mshishi at all times to learn from him,” concluded Kefile.

Was former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker spot on when he said Zwane is better than Doctor Khumalo?  

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