The lack of pomp and fanfare was, however, not surprising. Botswana’s is a minority league and that Mandaza had failed to impress at three Absa Premiership clubs within the previous 12 months should have meant he was just one of those out to make a quick buck rather than an impact.
His move from Botswana’s Township Rollers to Platinum Stars was followed by a forgetful stay in which the striker, who scored on debut against Amazulu, failed to keep a first-team position, till he was offloaded by then coach Owen da Gama two seasons ago.
His move to current club Maritzburg United signalled a change of fortunes for “Terror” whose combination with countryman, Cuthbert Malajila, instantly turned the Team of Choice into one of the most-feared outfits in the league. They beat big clubs like Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates in succession towards the close of the 2012-13 season.
While Malajila converted most of the goals and got more attention, Mandaza either provided those goals or came off the bench as then coach Ernst Midderndorp’s impact player. He scored five league goals from off the bench in that season.
Club spokesman, Younous Kadodia summed-up Mandaza’s situation: “While all the spotlight was on Malajila, Mandaza also made some significant contribution for us last season. He gave it his all every time he was given a run. We have always had belief in him since we tried signing him when he was still in Botswana, but Platinum Stars beat us to his signature. I believe his best is still to come.”
That full potential has begun to blossom and Mandaza has become one of the most-feared strikers in the league. He has been vital in Maritzburg’s league progress, but Mandaza is one of the main reasons they are now in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup.
Mandaza also rose from the bench to score the winning goal, as Maritzburg United beat 10-man Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-1 to progress to the last 16 of the tournament, before he scored a brace as they beat African Warriors 3-1 in the quarter-final tie at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday.
Obviously, he will be the man to beat when they go into the semi-finals.Post published in: Football