Ntuthuko Mabaso - Fact File

Mabaso Loving Life Under Khompela

After playing well for Mpumalanga Black Aces while on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns last season, Abel Mabaso has once again been loaned out to Maritzburg United. In his interview with Soccer Betting News, Mabaso opens up about his move.

Personal Information
Full names: Ntuthuko Abel Mabaso
Date of birth: 15 May 1991
Place of birth: Durban 
Nickname: Mshumbu
Position: Right back
Jersey no: 9
Club: Maritzburg United
Previous Clubs: Durban Metro Academy, Westville Utd Football Academy, M Tigers, Mamelodi Sundowns, Mpumalanga Black Aces(on loan),
Honours: 20 SA U2 caps

Ntuthuko, you couldn`t face Mamelodi Sundowns in Maritzburg`s first league game because of the loan agreement between the two clubs. How did it feel missing out that game?
I didn’t mind, I`m just happy that I made the move to Maritzburg United. The welcome that I got from everyone was great, and I`m enjoying my stay so far. I grew up here in Durban, so it`s like I`m returning back home and I`m enjoying being close to my family spending some years in Gauteng. I would like to thank Maritzburg for giving me this opportunity to be closer to me family.

Tell us about the Maritzburg move. How did it happen?
Well, as you know, I returned to Sundowns after the expiration of my loan deal with Aces. I was then called to the office and they told me about the opportunity to come down here to play for Maritzburg and I took it.

Why did you decide to join Maritzburg and not stay and fight for your position at Downs?
Look, I have always wanted to play for coach Steve Khompela, who for me is a great coach and a great person, so when the opportunity to play for him presented itself, I couldn’t turn that chance down.

Many believe that your move to Maritzburg was motivated by the fact that Sundowns wanted to sweeten the deal that saw Rheece Evans and Mario Booysen joining the Brazillians.
Well, I don`t know anything about that. All I know is that my decision to join Maritzburg was motivated by the desire for coach Steve who I believe is one of the greatest coaches in South African football. Nobody from Sundowns has told me anything about the player exchange that you are talking about. All I know is that Maritzburg wanted me and I wanted to play for them.

But, Able, you have never played under Khompela before, so how did you draw the conclusion that he is one of the greatest coaches in SA?
You are right. It`s actually my first time working under him, but looking from a distance and hearing the praise that he has received from the other clubs he has worked for and the players he has coached, it was easy for me to make that decision. I listen to fellow footballers and I decided that it was time for me to see if what has been said about him was true or not, and I can safely say that he is indeed one of the best coaches in SA. Listening to his input regarding my game has also given me the confidence that I`m in good hands because I`m playing under a knowledgeable coach.

You worked with former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker at Aces last season. How did you find working under him, especially compared to working with Khompela?
I don`t like comparing coaches because each one has different methods and philosophies so it`s going to be unfair for me to compare them.  For me I just take the positives and the lessons that they teach me. These two coaches are completely different. I learnt a lot from Clive Barker and I will always be grateful for the opportunities he gave me at Aces last season, but I am a Maritzburg player and my focus now is to try and do well for them and coach Steve.

After playing well at Aces last season, many people thought that you would be retained by Sundowns this season, but you were loaned out again.
To be honest, I was not really disappointed with Sundowns decision to loan me out to Maritzburg because as my team, they have the right to decide whether or not to keep me this season and they opted to send me to Maritzburg. Look, this is football and anything can happen, so as a player you have to be prepared for all eventualities, so I was prepared for anything.

How do you stay positive when you are deemed surplus to requirements for a second time?
For me it`s part and parcel of football. Things like this happen to a lot of footballers, not only for me. I see my move to Maritzburg as a great opportunity for me to enjoy my football and to play under Steve. I`m grateful to Maritzburg to play for them and hope that I will do well for the whole season.

Do you think that you will one day get another chance to prove yourself at Downs?
It`s a coach who is entitled to his choice, so if one day I do get the chance to go back to Sundowns, I will take it, but if it doesn`t come, I’ll move forward. I`m not here at Maritzburg to prove anyone wrong, I`m here to play football.

Ntuthuko, thanks for your time, all the best at the Team of Choice.
Thanks brother.