Despite the fact that he is only 20 years old, defender Kwanda Mngonyama has a philosophical view on life and understands the value of building momentum as a football player, one who has won the award for the most promising player of the tournament in the Nedbank Cup last season.
“Football is my job. I have to respect myself and I have to respect the sport. Thanks to football, I am able to take care of my family. This means that being focused and remaining positive despite any challenges that come my way are essential tools to deal with the pressures of playing the sport,” he says.
Like many of his peers, Mngonyama started playing football in school and went through the ranks before joining the Mamelodi Sundowns development team. He spent last season on loan to Bidvest Wits and is doing a stint at Maritzburg United for the 2014/2015 season.
“I played in almost all the games for Wits last season and want to go even further this year at Maritzburg. Spending two seasons on loan at different teams means I have to be able to adjust to different playing styles, coaches and new teammates. But that is what makes football great. There are always new opportunities and challenges.”
He believes that by showing respect to others and staying humble despite the accolades and awards will stand him in good stead for the future.
“The past two years have shown me that learning from others, whether it is more senior players or the coaches, and understanding different approaches to football, are vital to making it in the sport. Nothing comes easy in life and you have
to work hard to achieve your dreams. But I also understand that there needs to be a balance between work and relaxation. This
is why my family is so important, because they provide me with the foundation I need to keep sight of what needs to be done.”
— Iwan Pienaar