What a difference a year makes… Just over 12 months ago Tiyani Mabunda was turning out for Mamelodi Sundowns’ Multichoice Diski Challenge side. Now he’s an African champion and a Bafana Bafana international.
Mabunda’s story is one of patience more than anything. Up until February of this year the 28-year-old had made five appearances for the Brazilians in two years and seven months at Chloorkop, spending a season with Free State Stars and a spell in the MDC.
He was following the well-worn path of players who have committed to a life of bench warming and disappointment in Tshwane, but he didn’t give up on his dream of making a name for himself at South Africa’s most successful PSL-era club.
For a long period the Giyani-born midfielder wasn’t even listed as a player on the club’s website, and the last January transfer window almost saw his Sundowns career come to an end. Luckily – for the player and Pitso Mosimane – he didn’t move, because it was his name that made it onto the teamsheet when Bongani Zungu picked up an injury that kept him out for the remainder of the 2015/16 season.