Cape Town - Bidvest Wits attacking midfielder Phakamani Mahlambi has expressed gratitude to his family for their support following his return from a long injury lay-off.
The 18-year-old suffered a torn ACL during the Clever Boys' 2-1 league win over University of Pretoria on February 19, which forced him to watch from the sidelines for the rest of the campaign.
However, the Wits Young Player of the Season has now revealed his rehabilitation is going well and his entire family to thank for that.
"It's going well. The doctors wanted to take some tendon from my hamstring to repair my knee but my pace would have slowed if they'd done that," Mahlambi told The Red Bulletin.
"My brother, Mthobisi, stepped up and said 'No, take mine'. He is my hero, my twin, my everything."
Mahlambi also thanked his father, John Zachariah, who started a local football club and coached him before his move to the School of Excellence.
"It meant so much. My father's actions gave me the platform to learn the game," Mahlambi said.
"I was with my father's team for about three years, then left after successful trials for the SAFA School Of Excellence in Gauteng.
"Today, both my parents are unemployed, half my salary goes to my family and I'm helping to build them a new home."
Students coach Gavin Hunt has in the past compared the teenager to Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy, but Mahlambi insists he will not let such praise get to his head.
"I choose to stay humble when people give me praise, and just focus on training hard," he added.
"The coach is working closely with me to improve my game. There's a long way to go, but where I come from - my background was a struggle, so that gives me my motivation."