© Muzi Ntombela - BackpagePixAuthor: Dumisani KoyanaIn the famous words of William Shakespeare “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. Young Ofentse Mashiane found himself on the verge of greatness when he boarded a flight to Durban after a last-minute call to join Bafana Ba Style. Very few people knew that he was drafted into the match day squad on the eve of the final game of the season against Royal AM, after many of his role models in the first team had fallen sick the night before the game.
Mashiane came on for Neo Maema with less than 15 minutes on the clock and delivered a scintillating display that left his coaches, teammates and supporters impressed.

Coach Steve Komphela later took to social media to hail the young midfielder’s dazzling cameo in Sundowns 3-2 win against Thwihli Thwahla in Chatsworth.
“He was thrown in the deep end to swim and he came through. His opportunity came at the back of others’ setbacks (flu outbreak). Blessings and burdens are cousins. Ha a re wa e tshwara, ba hodimo hae,” Coach Komphela tweeted.
Masandawana have long had a policy of giving rising stars a chance, as seen with the emergence of the likes of Sphelele Mkhulise, Promise Mkhuma and several others.

On his dream debut with the first team, the Soshanguve-born starlet said, “I felt very excited when I made my maiden appearance with the big guns. Understandably, I was a bit nervous when I was informed that I would be joining the senior team for the game. However, in football, you need to be switched on at all times. The coaches encouraged and gave me confidence in my ability to handle the pressures of the big stage.”

The lanky midfielder spoke about how he earned the nickname Pogba, “So many people have told me that I look like Paul Pogba (Juventus midfielder) and I am flattered. Although I appreciate the comparison, I am nowhere near the levels of the French World Cup winner.”

Ofentse further stated, “Though we have some similarities in our game, I would never want to be compared to anyone else, because I want to carve out my personality as a footballer.”

The Academy player who grew up playing cricket has blossomed in football since he switched sports. His distinctive approach to the game and his decisiveness in the final third saw his star rise during the DStv Diski Challenge in recent times.
Ofense Mashiane during the DStv Premiership match between Royal AM and Mamelodi Sundowns© Sydney Mahlangu - BackpagePixMashiane’s impeccable ball control in midfield, calmness under pressure and game intelligence already rings Andile Jali 2.0. However, the young prodigy is not getting ahead of himself.

“My style of play suits the famous Shoe Shine and Piano of my beloved Mamelodi Sundowns. I am a player who loves keeping possession of the ball to dictate the pace of the midfield. I am hoping to understudy many of the accomplished midfielders presently at the club,” stated Mashiane.

One of the midfielder’s short-term plans is to cement his place in the first team and play alongside Rivaldo Coetzee.

“I am a big fan of Rivaldo because he is a very humble guy. I also like the calmness of his game because it is similar to mine. I love to keep things simple on the pitch because you can build on your confidence when you are not tensed. I hope to play with him someday” he asserted.

On his long-term plans with Mamelodi Sundowns, “Winning is entrenched in the DNA of the club and I desire to continue that exciting tradition for many years to come. To achieve that, I will need to work even harder,” Mashiane concluded.

On his favourite African football legend, Ofentse stated, “Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o remains my favourite because he is one of the most successful Africans to ever play the game.”

All those who have come across Ofentse have been fascinated by his rapid rise to stardom and he is touted to have a big future ahead of him.
With the support of the Mamelodi Sundowns Academy, hard work and humility, the Sky is the Limit for what the promising midfielder can achieve.