Benson Mhlongo praises Dikwena's spirit and tells Goal of his love for playing for the 'small team' which continues to upset the odds in South African football
Orlando Pirates' slayer and Platinum Stars stalwart Benson Mhlongo says he is enjoying life with the North West outfit, despite a lack of support for the double Cup winning champions, who have become the team to beat this season.
“The team in the past years didn’t do well, only now are we saying that we’re doing well,” Mhlongo told Goal days after Stars’ Telkom Knockout triumph against Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
“It’s a tough journey. Two trophies in six months, it’s only going to get tougher now.”
The former Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns veteran added that he enjoyed playing for smaller teams, where he could really showcase his skills for all to see.
“It’s only football. When I first started my career, I never played for big teams,” Mhlongo reveals.
“I always wanted to play for smaller teams where I could be used, where I could show my talent and be influential.
“If I can’t do something, you can’t see the best of me, I need to work, I like to work.”
Mhlongo was instrumental in keeping Pirates at bay throughout the final at Mbombela Stadium, cementing his status as a vital cog in the Dikwena machine.
Mogakolodi Ngele netted a brace after coming on as a substitute in the 66th minute, to cancel out Lucky Lekgwathi's first half opener and seal a fantastic second cup success against the team they beat in September, to lift the MTN8 trophy.
Mhlongo says he gave Ngele a simple piece of advice after the creative midfielder replaced Issa Sarr midway through the second period.
“I just asked him to shoot. We have you, just shoot anywhere,” Mhlongo explains.
“Even if you miss 100 shots, that’s fine, your game is to shoot today, nothing else.”
In a remarkable twist, Stars and Pirates will once again square-off just days after the Telkom Knockout final.
On Monday (December 16), Dikwena host the Buccaneers in a Premiership clash at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg, just nine days after winning their second trophy of the campaign.
Pirates will look to exact revenge on their hosts, who have now had the better of Pirates in their last two encounters, costing the Sea Robbers two pieces of precious silverware.