Varsity Football might be on hold for 2020, but erstwhile UKZN star Mfan’fikile Dlamini has still had reason to celebrate – both off and on the field.
In late April, Dlamini graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a Bachelor of Social Science degree in Community Development and Sociology. As it was still during the initial stages of Coronavirus lockdown in South Africa, the 21-year-old was ‘capped’ virtually – but still chose a unique outfit to wear for it. (see below)
With his studies behind him, for now, Dlamini has been able to focus on his football which, in previous years has seen him selected for both the national Under-20 team (2018) and USSA squad for the Summer Universiade last year. Now, he has earned promotion from AmaZulu’s reserve team to senior squad for the resumption of the Premier Soccer League season in the so-called ‘bio-bubble’ in Gauteng.
“I will be forever grateful to AmaZulu for this opportunity, it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Dlamini is quoted as saying on amazulufc.net.
“I know this is where everything starts, I know I must work five times harder, but to be honest I am very happy. People who know me know how much this means to me.”
READ MORE: Full AmaZulu website article on Dlamini
For Dlamini – whose cousin Mduduzi Nxele is a former AmaZulu player – his promotion marks the culmination of many years of patience. He initially started with ‘Usuthu’ as an 11-year-old playing in their Under-13s, but only returned to the club this season via stints at KZN Football Academy and Lamontville Golden Arrows’ reserve team.
“Words cannot describe the feeling, I’ve been through a lot and even missed a couple of opportunities to go abroad because of school but that’s a story for another day.
“I’m trying hard to adapt and absorb the pressure of training with the big guns,” said Dlamini.
AmaZulu’s remaining fixtures for the 2019-20 league season are against Baroka, Bidvest Wits, Bloemfontein Celtic, Black Leopards, Stellenbosch and Highlands Park.
PLAYER PROFILE Philakahle Dlamini
Full name: Philakahle Mfan’fikile Dlamini
Born: 26/2/1999 in Durban
Position: Central midfielder
Varsity Football experience: 2018-19
International experience: South Africa Under-20 (2018), USSA National Team (2019)
Studied: BSocSci (2017-19)
by Carlo Jonkerman