Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Mandla Masango insists he never once stop believing in himself after going from bit-part player to first-choice option at Naturena.
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The 25-year-old had endured a hugely frustrating first seven years with the Glamour Boys, making an average of just eight starts per season as his career in Soweto looked destined to fall flat.
However, he continued to work hard in the training ground and has since become an integral part of the squad, and Masango admits his determination to succeed is what has brought him this far.
“There was a point when I was down, but never out,” he told KickOff.
“I asked myself how many players wish to be part of Kaizer Chiefs. When growing up back home it was every youngster’s dream to play for Chiefs.
“Every day when I woke up during my trying times I would ask myself about how many players want this opportunity that I have of being a Kaizer Chiefs player; thinking about my situation this way kept me going.”
“The plus for me is I love playing football, the sight of a ball brings a smile to my face the same way it does to a kid.”
Masango will be even more boosted by his inclusion in Bafana Bafana set-up again when South Africa face Congo on October 11/15.
The midfielder will look to help Chiefs hold onto their 100 percent start to the Absa Premiership when they host Maritzburg United at the FNB Stadium.
In head-to-head stats, Chiefs and Maritzburg have met in 16 league matches since 2005/06.
Amakhosi have six wins, the Team of Choice four and six matches have been drawn.
Chiefs have won four of their eight home matches against United, suffering two defeats in the process.
Last season the Amakhosi took four points from the teams’ two league matches, winning 2-0 at home and drawing 0-0 away.
Kick-off is at 20:15 on Saturday, September 27.