Playing in the FIFA Club World Cup will be the real test: Maseko

Thapelo Maseko
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Mamelodi Sundowns young sensation, Thapelo Maseko, says playing in the FIFA Club World Cup will be the real test for the DSTV Premiership champions. Sundowns have qualified for the 32-team expanded global showpiece, where they will be one of four African teams to represent the continent.

The Brazilians qualified by virtue of their CAF and FIFA rankings, despite bowing out of the CAF Champions League semi-finals to Esperance, early last month. Maseko acknowledges the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League final, but relishes the opportunities the Club World Cup present.

“It was heartbreaking, it was tough for us to take. The Club World cup will be a good stage to test us and our abilities at the highest stage of football competition. ”

The 20-year-old had a breakout season during which he won the COSAFA Men’s Most Promising Player award. He was also honoured for his sterling performances in the inaugural African Football League, where he was the top goal scorer and the Most Valuable Player.

“It was huge for me because it was my first continental club competition. It was hard and physical but we managed to pull through and I performed at my level best.”

Maseko’s Injuries

Unfortunately, the former Supersport United player’s season was constantly interrupted by injuries, which hampered his progress.

“It’s been a season with ups and downs with stops and starts because of injuries but it has been a good season for me, my first season at Sundowns but it has been a fair season. ”

Maseko joined the professional ranks at Supersport United in 2022, rose through the ranks and joined Sundowns last year. He was also part of the Bafana Bafana squad that won a bronze medal at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast early this year.

“I still believe I am a raw player. Things happened so quick for me, I played one season in MDC, I played one season at Supersport and then got signed by one of the best teams in Africa and I’m trying to adjust and be at my level best. ”

Maseko is unlikely to be part of the Sundowns team when they play Cape Town City in the last league match of the season in Pretoria on Saturday. He’s nursing an injury.