Kaizer Chiefs rising star Vicky Mkhawana, probably the best and most starred player in the South African National Team in the 2023 Under-17 CAF African Cup of Nations. He is one of the finest and most upcoming, exciting footballing talents in the country.

Born and bred at Dan Village, Nkowa-Nkowa, just outside Tzaneen in Limpopo, the 17-year-old star has rapidly established himself and proved to be one of the future for South Africa football.

Despite growing up in the rural area in Limpopo, where quality sports facilities are very rare to find, he found himself in the never-ending comparison with the former great players, the likes of Siyabonga Nomvethe, Collins Mbesuma among others.

And as a result, Just 15-months down the line, the young star has signed his first professional contract. He has reportedly penned a three-year-deal with the Kaizer Chiefs senior team.

This came after his impressive showcase in the African Cup of Nations held in Algeria recently. Vicky was instrumental in coach Duncan Crowie’s side. He netted three goals in four games and was named a player of the match in one of those games.

The Vicky Mkhawana Story: How the Limpopo boy Rapidly Paved His Way Up To The Chiefs Senior Team
Vicky Mkhawana signs a new contract at Kaizer Chiefs

HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR VICKY MKHAWANA?

At the age of seven, Vicky was already impressing in the local football in his village, and it rang in his mother’s and sister’s minds that the boy had a talent, and it should be taken severely. After those tentative signs of awareness of his talent when he played in the streets, they decided to be there for him.

The two women could not afford to let him down. They had to support him under any circumstances. Speaking to LimSportsZone, his sister, Tracy Mkhawana, remembers how difficult it was for them to back up Vicky at the start.

“It was very difficult at the time to show him the support he needed. Not because we didn’t want to, but because of the situation,” Tracy Mkhawana told LimSportsZone.

“It was not easy for us because my mother is the only person who made sure Vicky gets everything that he requires. And because of our support together with his first coach, Jeremiah Baloyi’s guidance, he made it, and we are proud.”

“We are pleased with how everything happened, with the support of coach Peace Khosa from Nkowa-Nkowa Barcelona and others. Vicky is very dedicated and works very hard towards his talent and dreams. My mother is a very proud mother now and overjoyed by this victory.”

THE NKOWA-NKOWA BARCELONA ERA UNDER COACH PEACE KHOSA

Then came the Samaritan coach, Peace Khosa of Nkowa-Nkowa Barcelona. A man whose name is well known when it comes to helping young stars to live their soccer career dreams. He developed countless players who are now in the DStv Premiership and the Motsepe Foundation Championship teams.

The young Mkhawana had continued to show more potential and all the signs of having a promising footballing career. But too much of his capabilities were seen at Nkowa-Nkowa Barcelona after joining them from Flamingo FC. A team from Dan village.

Mkhawana took his game to the next level at Barcelona. He raised the bar, and it was chiefly through his form that the Nkowa-Nkowa team didn’t chase him away when he went to join them in 2019.

In an interview with LimSportsZone, Khosa, Mkhawana’s then coach, has thoroughly explained how they started working and polishing the already noticeable talent that Mkhawana had.

“We started working with Vicky in 2019 around June. He played for U-15 in SAFA league. He came to join us after we played his former team called Flamingo from Dan. Vicky realized that Nkowa-Nkowa players are going out to better and bigger academies like Farouk Khan’s academy from us,” Khosa told LimSportsZone.

“He played for us, and we saw his potential. We sent him to KZN for assessment at some big academies there, but due to accommodation problems, he came back. He came and we continued to polish him.”

THE SUDDEN KAIZER CHIEFS LIFE THEN FOLLOWED

“So last year (2022) February after working hard with him and seeing how good he is, we took him to Kaizer Chiefs junior teams for assessment again. Fortunately, he was selected and started playing there,” Khosa said.

“And the most important thing is that he also continued with his education at Chiefs. We have done our job as Nkowa-Nkowa Barcelona. The rest will then unfold itself. We are happy we managed to help him as he signed that contract.”

The South African Under-17 international is one of many stellar talents to come out of so-called nowhere. Mkhawana could be one of the best players the country has ever produced, should his most anticipated football career eventually be fruitful.

At Amakhosi since the start of the 2022/2023 season, a new wave of young talents have been able to make their way into the first team under coach Arthur Zwane.

From Samkelo Zwane who has been gaining playing time since last season. Mduduzi Shabalala who has cemented himself as a regular starter in Zwane’s starting formation. Amakhosi will have no shortage of young options while Mkhawana will be awaiting his debut next season.

By Clifton Mabasa