Bafana Bafana hero Mayambela reveals why he nearly quit football

Mihlali Mayambela.BackpagePix
  • Mayambela explained why he almost retired
  • Bafana forward didn’t like comparisons with his brother
  • His goal sealed South Africa’s place in 2023 Afcon

WHAT HAPPENED? Mayambela said he got fed up with people comparing his performances with that of his elder brother, former Orlando Pirates star, Mark Mayambela, and nearly quit football due to the pressure.

Mark played for Pirates between 2010 and 2012 and was part of the squad that won back-to-back PSL titles (2010-11 and 2011-12) before stints with Chippa United, SuperSport United, Ajax Cape Town among others That made life tough for his younger brother Mihlali when he was starting out his career at Cape Town All Stars.

It forced the youngster to seek a transfer overseas to escape the scrutiny, landing first in Sweden, where he started with Djurgardens, before ending up in Portugal with Farense, following some loan stints in the Scandinavian nation, and is now at Aris Limassol in Cyprus after a short spell in Israel.

His performances in Cyprus seem to have impressed Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos, who included him in his squad for the doubleheader against Liberia, starting him on the bench at home, before unleashing him from the beginning in Monrovia, and he returned the favour by scoring the winning goal.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “It was hard in the beginning because I was compared to my brother Mark all the time, I almost stopped playing football,” Mayambela told Safa media, as quoted by iDiski Times.

“I left SA at 18 daring to be different, to be my own man, my own player, and for the comparison to stop, it worked, luckily for me.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was the second goal for Mayambela in what was his fourth cap for South Africa, having scored on his debut when he netted in his country’s 4-0 thrashing of Sierra Leone in a friendly match last September.

With South Africa already qualified for next year’s tournament in the Ivory Coast, the 26-year-old will hope that his goal will see him stamp his place in the team and make him one of the undroppables as Broos begins preparations for the event.

WHAT’S NEXT? Mayambela will turn his focus to league action as Aris, who are locked in a tight title race with APOEL Nicosia and AEK Larnaca, face city rivals Apollon Limassol on Sunday.