Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni says he will fight for his place in the starting line-up
Posted: 31 August 2017 Time: 14:01
Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni has admitted that he is surprised the club wanted to keep him for the coming season.
Ngobeni enjoyed regular game-time while on loan to Free State Stars last season, but he now has to adjust to being Sundowns’ fourth choice goalkeeper, behind international shot-stoppers Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene and new man Razak Brimah.
Ngobeni says he had an opportunity to return to Stars, but Sundowns added him to their Champions League squad after their failure to register Brimah for the club continental competition. The departure of Wayne Sandilands to Orlando Pirates meant that Sundowns only had Onyango and Mweene registered in the competition, so coach Pitso Mosimane did not want to take the risk of having just two goalkeepers.
“To me it came as a surprise that the team would want to see me stay for the coming season. So I had to adjust to say that now I am back at Sundowns,” Ngobeni tells KickOff.com.
“Honestly there was an opportunity for me to go play in Free State again and I did not have a problem with that. I honestly wanted to continue there, but things sometimes don’t go as you plan. If the opportunity does not come at Sundowns, then I’ll still go look somewhere else for a loan. I’d like to play, it does not matter where I am.”
Ngobeni still has a two-year contract to run with Sundowns and says he won’t be at the club to add numbers. He’s ready to fight for his place.
“Obviously it’s a bit tough now that I am back here. There’s top goalkeepers and it’s not going to be easy. The situation forces me to fight for number one. I am not here to add numbers.
“It’s very important for me to set higher goals. The season I had in Free State gave me some motivation to say if I work hard and given the opportunity I need to grab it. There’s international goalkeepers, so I can only learn from them but at the same time I need to work hard to make my position better in the team. I just need to believe in myself because anything is possible. I need to be mentally strong.”