Q & A with MUFC midfielder Mondli Cele
2 October 2014
Six months ago he was based in Port Sheptstone, playing in South Africa’s third tier for Gamalakhe United, now Mondli Cele hopes play his part in upsetting Kazier Chiefs in Saturday’s TKO showdown.
Maritzburgunited.co.za: You appear to have seamlessly made the step up from the Second Division to the PSL. How did you join Maritzburg United in the first place, and how have you managed to adapt so quickly?
Mondli Cele: The assistant coach, Mandla, saw me playing last season in the Nedbank Cup for Gamalakhe against Santos down in Cape Town. I was invited to train with the club before the end of last season, and then returned for pre-season and subsequently signed a contract.
I was very happy with the opportunity the technical team gave me – it’s very difficult for players from the Second Division to get a chance in the PSL, it does not happen a lot. For me it was a life-changing opportunity, I had the hunger to play at this level, and I was determined to make the most of the chance.
So I have been working extremely hard at training, and this has helped me adapt quickly to playing at a higher level.
Maritzburgunited.co.za: Tell us about your debut against Mamelodi Sundowns up in Pretoria…
Mondli Cele: To be honest I was very nervous before that game.
I had never played in front of a crowd even close to that size and it was quite intimidating, seeing some of the PSL’s biggest stars lining up next to us. But coach Steve motivated me, he told me to just go out and play my normal game and do what I usually do on the field.
When the game started I got some good early touches, kept things simple, and then my confidence started to lift and I became less nervous and began to enjoy the game.
Maritzburgunited.co.za: You played against Chiefs last week, and you play them again on Saturday, this time in the Telkom Knockout…your thoughts?
Mondli Cele: Playing against Chiefs last week was a dream come true, something I had dreamt about since my childhood. I went in to that game with an open heart, it was a great experience for me. With Chiefs doing so well this season, I knew a lot of people would be watching that game, and that a lot of people would see me, so I wanted to do well.
Unfortunately they got the only goal of the match, but I thought I had quite a good game and the coach told me he was happy with my performance.
Now we play them again in the TKO. We can’t let them beat us twice, this time we have to win the game. It had been my dream to score against Chiefs….it never happened last week, but luckily I’ll get another chance this week, and hopefully I can help my team make it through to the last eight.