Mduduzi Shabalala showed his deadly instincts with a hattrick against Royal AM last week for the Chiefs Reserve team in a nine-goal thriller in the DStv Diski Challenge.
Despite the disappointment of a narrow 5-4 loss, Shabalala enjoyed the outing and was elated at being added to the Inland 2 squad for the DStv Compact Cup as his star continues to rise as he forges his professional football career.
Reflecting on the fixture against Royal, Shabalala says the frantic game “was tough tactically, I think we did not come to the party fully. I did like the fighting spirit and it can be better with time”.
While it was a major personal achievement, Shabalala’s hattrick was tinged with considerable sadness, which he dedicated to his sister Thembi, who had passed away just two weeks ago.
“It felt so great to score a hattrick. The goals came quick. We were losing and I was able to score the first goal, which I dedicate to my sister Thembi, who passed away two weeks ago. The second goal I scored, our third goal, brought us back into the game,” says Shabalala.
Shabalala’s third goal levelled the scores at 4-4, but Amakhosi conceded a late goal and were edged 5-4.
Despite the loss, Shabalala’s composed finishes and clinical touches saw him being named man of the match, an achievement he was well pleased with.
“I was happy to be named man of the match and I am also pleased to be selected for the DStv Compact Cup, which means that I simply have to up my game. This performance is definitely a boost to my confidence before the DStv Compact Cup. Getting voted in shows that I am playing good football and that people love seeing me play. I will keep on fighting and doing the right things,” says Shabalala.
The COVID outbreak in the Chiefs camp gave Shabalala the opportunity to begin training with the Chiefs first team and he was named amongst the subs for Chiefs first team in a 2-0 DStv Premiership win over Sekhukhune.
Of these opportunities, he said: “I could not express how happy I was to have been part of the first team. The chance will come, I will get the opportunity to play for the first team. My friends and family were very excited seeing my name on the team- sheet”.
Shabalala will now be looking to kick on from his exploits against Royal AM when Chiefs take on Marumo Gallants on Sunday Morning at the FNB Stadium in their next match in the DStv Diski Challenge.