Kaizer Chiefs midfield talent Mduduzi Shabalala admits the gulf in quality between Europe and South Africa is vast but wants to work hard to get the opportunity to move abroad.
The 19-year-old midfielder is set for his first Soweto Derby in the DStv Premiership this weekend which marks another milestone in his rise to prominence at Amakhosi.
What stands out, besides his obvious raw talent, is his awareness of where he stands in the professional game, having spent time in Spain with Villarreal, a prize for winning the U17 COSAFA Cup Player of the Tournament, and during a trial in Belgium with KVC Westerlo.
“It was a great experience, I learned a lot in Belgium and Spain, things are done in different ways, even when they play… it’s done in different ways and I think we still have a lot to do as players in South Africa,” he said to iDiski times
“We have to stay focused and stay grounded because they are far, far ahead of us. I think if I could go there, I could grow fast, my football could grow fast.”
Amidst the attention he’s getting being part of the Chiefs’ first team this season, he stated it’s important for him to think and behave like a senior player now, having only spent one season and a half in the club’s development structures before his promotion.
Shabalala stated at his age, he can’t plead that he’s young if you look at what some of the global superstars around the world have achieved at his age.
“It [changing your mindset] helps you to fight in the game, to always give your best, don’t limit yourself because you can see now what’s happening in football,” he explained.
“Look at your Pedri’s, Mbappe’s winning a World Cup when they [are] 19. So you always have to give your best and fight for your position in the game.”
Shabalala has scored two goals in his first nine appearances for the club, since being handed his professional debut in the first team under Arhur Zwane.