Johannesburg - Being in the company of the world’s top players at the Fifa Puskás Award ceremony, held in London a few days ago, has inspired Oscarine Masuluke to continue striving for more.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper may have missed out on the prize for Goal of the Year – it went to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud – but rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best footballers ranks as a career highlight.
So inspired was Masuluke that on his return to South Africa, he went directly to join his Baroka team-mates to prepare for Sunday's Telkom Knockout match against Cape Town City.
Masuluke was the first African to make the top three short list for the award, as well as the first goalkeeper finalist. It did not matter that he did not win; he was elated at having been a finalist and to have played a part in putting little-known Baroka on the international stage.
Ceremony was an honour
“I am still over the moon and learnt a lot in the short time I was in London. Staying in the same hotel and mixing with all these superstars during the ceremony was an honour and I will always cherish that,” said Masuluke.
“I learnt everything there as a player. I didn’t speak to many people as I didn’t get a chance to, but it was an eye-opener for me. It was great".
Masuluke did not prepare a winner’s acceptance speech and has no idea what he would have said, but he remains grateful to his supporters.
“I want to thank those who voted for me and put me on the world map. I appreciate their efforts and am inspired".
Also taking lessons from London to the club is Baroka boss Morgan Mammila, who accompanied Masuluke to the event. He said he was impressed with the professionalism and that the experience had humbled him.