Kaizer Chiefs teenager Mdududzi Shabalala grew up supporting Orlando Pirates but he’s revealed why he rejected the opportunity to play for them in order to join Amakhosi.
Shabalala, 19, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the Chiefs first team, having arrived as a 16-year-old after a grueling trial period, he signed and in the space of a few months, he was the U17 COSAFA Cup playing of the tournament for South Africa.
With less than 20 games in the development and DStv Diski Challenged combined, he’s found himself knocking ont the door of the first eleven under Arthur Zwane in the first-team but it could have been so much different, heading into his first Soweto Derby.
“It’s true, I supported Orlando Pirates, everyone at [my] home supports Orlando Pirates but now since I joined Kaizer Chiefs, I had to change and support Kaizer Chiefs, and I will die as a Kaizer Chiefs fan,” he said at the Vodacom Soweto Derby media event.
“My old lady, my sister yes, but my father hai… My father isn’t in favour, even now wants to he wants to beat me!”
The mecurial talent paid homage to his youth coach who he admitted was the one who took him for trials at the Soweto giants as he offered insight into why Amakhosi was the only team he wanted to represent after having a taste of both sides.
“Coach Sifiso played a big role in my life, he’s the one who took my to Kaizer Chiefs, we first started a trial at Orlando Pirates, but it didn’t work out, I told him it’s easy there at Pirates, I want to go to Kaizer Chiefs,” he explained.
“And at Chiefs, they made it difficult for me, I trialed for about three to four months and I told him that’s the type of challenge I want in football, and it happened that I got the challenge and I was promoted to the first team after just three games in the GDL with the U17s.”
He continued: “I started training at Pirates but I could see this is not my level… To be honest, there was a tournament playing in Randburg, it was the GDL Cup, the time I was playing for Lensia Soccer Academy under coach Sifiso, we were sitting outside watching Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates…
“I could see coach Sifiso’s players, how they played and how they exerted themselves, they were enjoying football, buzzing, dribbling, it’s something I wanted and the minute I got to Kaizer Chiefs, I felt, here, I am playing football, I’m going to make it here.”
Shabalala has scored two goals in his nine games in his debut season for Chiefs ahead of his maiden Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.