Almost two seasons ago, the name Ayanda Molefhe was not known amongst football circles. After a sterling performance in his debut season for Uniao Flamengo Santos during the 2013/14 Premier League season, all of a sudden Ayanda became one of the most wanted youngsters in local football.
Last season, he shouldered the huge task of scoring goals for Santos and did not disappoint.
Partnering Zimbabwean giant Vincent Nzombe in attack, Ayanda was a thorn in the flesh of many defenders, his silky skills and intelligence attracting a lot of interest. When his 11 goals failed to help Santos survive the relegation axe, it was clear that a lot of clubs would come scrambling for his signature.
Extension Gunners, BDF XI, Orapa United, Letlapeng, Chiefs and Nico United came through with offers.
It was time for the youngster to make a choice but when he settled for Chiefs, many thought it would mark the end of what seemed like a promising career.
The thinking was simple ÔÇô Chiefs have an abundance of talent especially in attack. Going there was a good move for the youngster.
“I know a lot of people were against my move to Chiefs but to me this was an opportunity I’ve always wanted. Piro [Pontsho Moloi ÔÇô Chiefs captain] is my role model and I have watched him closely when I grew up,” the Serowe-born youngster said. “So when Chiefs came calling, there was no way I was going to turn them down. I must say it is a dream come true for me to play alongside such a legend. I’m going to learn a lot from him and other quality players in the team.”
In the absence of three attacking players who were in the national team, Ayanda was handed a starting berth against Gaborone United in the first semi-final of the Kabelano Charity Cup at the National Stadium on August 2.
It did not take long for the 23-year-old to introduce himself to Chiefs’ faithful when he scored with a beautiful strike from outside the box early into the game. Chiefs went on to book a place in the final with a 2-1 win.
As if it was not enough, Ayanda scored again in the final; this time around he out-jumped Township Rollers defenders to once again give his side a lead. Though Rollers came back to equalize and win on post-match penalties, Ayanda had made his mark.
“It was unbelievable to score two great goals against two great sides. I have always wanted to score against Rollers and when it happened I was over the moon. Unfortunately we went on to lose but it happens in a game of football,” he said.
Ayanda admitted that there is a lot of competition at Chiefs but he is ready to fight for a place. He believes in competing fiercely in order to be counted amongst the best.
“There is quality here and I didn’t expect to walk straight into the starting line-up. Surprisingly, I have started all the (four) games since I got here. I intend to continue working hard in order to keep on playing,” he said.
Ahead of their game against Sankoyo Bush Bucks at Maun Sports Complex yesterday, Ayanda had already scored two goals in three matches.
He has set himself the target of 20 goals this season. He believes that with all the support and stars around him at Chiefs, he can achieve his dreams.
“What is important to me is to maintain the same level of discipline and not let success go to my head. It is a dream come true for me that within a season I’m already donning a strip of the one of the biggest sides in the country,” he continued.
Chiefs’ coach Mike Sithole has nothing but praises for the youngster.
He said Ayanda is a workaholic and wants to learn every day.
“I like a player who is not afraid to ask questions in order for him to improve. He is still a youngster and I’m not going to put a lot of pressure on him. It is important that he enjoys his game but not forgetting to remain humble. He is a future star of this country but he needs to be managed properly,” Sithole said.