KHAYELIHLE Shozi, the 19 year old striker from Clapham High School, and in the Mamelodi Sundowns Academy, has scored 8 goals in four games making him the top goal-scorer at the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup national finals happening at the King Zwelithini Stadium, Umlazi, Durban. Clapham beat Harmony, from the Free State, 1 – 0 today to top Group
B with one more game to go.
It was touch and go as to whether Shozi would even travel to Durban with the team as he has been out of action for three months due to injury. But he was tested just prior to departure and declared fit and has made a mark for himself.
Shozi hails from Pinetown and was brought to Mamelodi Sundowns in 2010 by his mentor, Mabhuti Khanyeza , a renowned player who was with Sundowns and now with Mpumalanga Black Aces. “I played for Rockers FC, owned by Mabhuti, since I was 6 years old,” he said. “He took me in and groomed me into what I am today. Not many kids from Klarotha get the chance to be mentored by a professional and then be part of an academy like Sundowns. My biggest problem is that I am not the best academic and Sundowns demand good results as well as good football.”
The youngster, now in Grade 11 at Clapham, is pleased with his performance in the tournament to date. “Scoring the goals is a morale booster for me, as well as the team, and it has inspired me to do even better,” however he admits to feeling a bit weary after playing three hard games yesterday and will play two again today.
“Before I left home I set a goal, and that was to win the highest goal-scorer and player of the tournament awards. I am on the way, but we still have two days of football ahead of us and there are some excellent players here so it will not be easy,” said Shozi.
Clapham won their first game against FK Tjiane (Limpopo) 9 – 1, then beat Rietvale (Northern Cape) 6 – 0 ending the day with a 1 – 0 lead against Freedom Park (North West). The second day saw them beat Harmony (Free State) 1 – 0 to top the log. Their final league game will pit them against Sebetwane (North West).
“Each and every game was a tough one and we have had to work hard for our wins,” said Shozi. “What really has helped is being part of the Sundowns Academy. We get to play against the first team every month and we learn a lot about confidence, self discipline, respect, technical play and striving to do your best in every game. We have put all these lessons into practise this week. “
As a striker Shozi is always looking for ways to improve his game and different scoring tactics. “Having someone of Mabhuti’s calibre as a mentor has helped give me the confidence to test out new tactics in games. I am picking his brains now on how to get to, and stay, at the top of your game.
While I am doing well, I have been through three very difficult months being injured and not playing. That is one of the most difficult positions to be in and you lose confidence and morale. This tournament has helped me get back up there.”