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Cassius Mailula: Who is Mamelodi Sundowns wonderkid & next Percy Tau who put Orlando Pirates to the sword?

9:30 AM EST 2/4/23
Cassius Mailula Mamelodi Sundows.
Cassius Mailula: All you need to know about the Mamelodi Sundowns sensation tipped to be better than Percy Tau.
  • Limpopo product

    The 21-year-old was born in Ga-Molepo, a town in the Capricorn District Municipality, in the South African province of Limpopo.

    His date of birth is June 12, 2001, with the youngster set to turn 22 later this year.

  • Star in the Diski Challenge

    Mailula has been with Sundowns since 2016, and really first came to the attention of the club’s supporters while starring with the club’s DStv Diski Challenge side.

    He’s certainly brought his form in this competition to the PSL, with some outstanding displays this term.

  • Hat-trick hero

    Mailula has already proven that he’s unfazed by life in continental competition.

    He scored a hat-trick against La Passe to open his account for Sundowns in the Caf Champions League in October, and while the opponents were modest, it was a striking showing by the young prospect.

  • Percy Tau, Al Ahly, December 2022

    The next Percy Tau?

    Ex-Sundowns midfielder Alex Bapela told local media that he expected Mailula could become the next big thing of South African football.

    “I think he’s destined to become the next best thing in South African football,” he said last year. “That boy has a brighter future than Percy [Tau].

    “To play in the first-team and be in the starting line-up at the age of 21 at Sundowns is a huge achievement.”

  • Rhulani Mokwena, Mamelodi Sundowns

    Mokwena has called for patience

    Despite his exploits this season, Mailula has been protected by his head coach Rhulani Mokwena, who’s called for patience as the youngster develops.

    "Earlier in the season, when Cassius was scoring, everyone was shouting, but I said, ‘calm down’,” Mokwena said in January. "I still say calm down because there is a long way to go for him. We sit for a long period and do corrections, and then we sit down and show him the pictures [video analysis].

    "Of course, the pictures don’t come exactly the same way as the feel and adaptation to different situations on the pitch happen.

    "The only way for him to get better is to live the moments on the pitch, and that’s going to happen with all the young players in the team. We have another promising youngster in [reserve player] Jerome Karelse, and I think he will be something special."

  • Peter Shalulile Mamelodi Sundowns.

    The experienced players will help him

    Mokwena has also outlined his expectation that the experienced players in the Sundowns camp will play a big part in Mailula’s development.

    "The good thing is you have players who have quality and experience around Cassius, which is important. Training with Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile, Haashim Domingo, Lesedi Kapinga, and Gift Motupa every day will make these youngsters better," the head coach added.

    "The future is bright, and we can move into the space where young talent comes through the youth system to the first team rather than from outside to the first team.

    "Offensive players only improve through experience, young players that play in the defensive or midfield line can get better through training — through a lot of assistance with simulating situations."

  • PSL debut

    The youngster made his debut against Chippa United on September 7 last year, where he already looked comfortable in the PSL…and completely unfazed by playing at such a high level.

  • Hugo Broos, Bafana Bafana, September 2022

    International recognition

    Yet to be capped by Bafana Bafana, Mailula has already represented the national side up to U-23 level.

    At this rate, don’t be surprised if more international recognition comes his way in the near future.

    Are you watching Hugo Broos?

  • Already scored against Pirates

    One of the highlights of Mailula’s breakout season already was finding the net against Pirates as Sundowns defeated the Buccaneers 2-0 as they ended 2022 on a high.

    Jose Riveiro’s side will be desperate not to play the wonderkid again any time soon.