Teenage starlet, Mduduzi Shabalala is eager to continue the path of progress he embarked on last season when he established himself in the Kaizer Chiefs senior squad, thrilling the Amakhosi Faithful with his deft skills.
The Glamour Boys get their 2023/24 DStv Premiership season underway against Chippa United at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday, where they will be aiming to give their fans a winning start to the campaign.
“So far so good,” says Shabalala, “We’ve been doing very well in training and we are looking forward to our first game. We are feeling positive.
Amakhosi showed signs of potential on their recent pre-season tour of Tanzania and Botswana, though they didn’t manage to win either of their games. Now playing for points, Shabalala is determined to ensure good performances are reflected on the scoreboard.
“There’s a lot of improvement in the team but, of course, what is important is getting results, which we haven’t done as well as we would have liked,” he says, “We are looking forward to putting that right against Chippa and getting three points.”
Amakhosi’s opponents, Chippa United, have styled themselves as somewhat of a bogey team for Chiefs in recent times, but Shabalala dismisses that notion, preferring to focus on just the match ahead.
“They have been saying a lot of things about us, but we just want to go out there and express ourselves with positive energy and willingness to fight for the team,” he says, before acknowledging that they are unlikely to be pushovers, “They are a good side, with some very good players, so we are expecting a tough contest.”
The 19-year-old stressed the importance of doing well on Sunday, given who they come up against a few days later.
“The first game is very important for us to boost confidence. We play Sundowns in our second game and we want to go into that match with three points in the bag,” he says.
Shabalala believes a good turnout of support for their opening league match will boost the players and improve their chances of winning on the field.
“We’ve got a new jersey, a new sponsor, Kappa, a new set-up, a new team and we approach the season with a new mentality. It was great to see so many fans come and support us in Tanzania and Botswana. We would love to see the same thing in Durban on Sunday. We promise to perform at our best to get a positive result, and make them happy,” he says.
The prodigiously talented playmaker established himself in the first team squad last season and this term he intends to kick on in his development by building on his experience from the previous campaign to evolve as a player.
“It’s a new season. I’m no longer a ‘young player’,” he concedes, despite still being of tender age, “I played quite a lot of games last season, so this season it’s about getting things right and showing people that I am bringing more maturity into my game.”
The DStv Premiership fixture between Kaizer Chiefs and Chippa United FC takes place on Sunday, 6 August 2023 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The match kicks off at 15:00, and will be broadcast live on DStv SuperSport channel 202.
Tickets are available for purchase online at Ticketpro, costing R60 each.