Breakthrough Mamelodi Sundowns season a surprise even for Cassius Mailula

Breakthrough Mamelodi Sundowns season a surprise even for Cassius Mailula

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Cassius Mailula admits he surprised even himself during this past season.

The reigning Young Player of the Season managed an impressive 15 goals in 31 games, including four assists, in what is regarded as his breakthrough campaign with the Downs senior team.

Mailula, 21, hopes to build on this.

"It's been a breakthrough season for me and not something that I actually expected but I think with the sacrifices that I made and the hard work that I put in behind the scenes it worked out. I don't think as a young player you can come and play for a big team and actually provide goals and assists," he said.

The forward had some big moments in Sundowns’ CAF Champions League campaign, though he could not help them win the title.

Sundowns were knocked out by Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals.

"The demands are very high when you go and play in Africa. Something that I actually learnt is that at a high level, you always have to be strong mentally. Those guys are always aggressive, you need to have good decision making. For me, it's also doing your homework, analysing your opponents, and knowing their weaknesses and strength," he added.

Mailula did find himself coming off the bench a lot more in the final few games of their DStv Premiership season.

He explains why.

"Of course, I got an injury but I came back. For me, it's not about humbling me or anything. I think when a player is playing well in our team, they always give them a chance. I think that's what happened," he explained.

"I also had to work hard to be able to play again. I don't think in our club that if you've been playing well and all those things when you are fit it means that you are just gonna come back and play. For me, now it was about having to work hard and try to find my feet back and be in the team."