Name: Dikgang Mabalane
Date of Birth: 28 December 1979
Place of Birth: Tladi, Soweto
He may be small in stature, but don’t be deceived-Dikgang Mabalane is a bulldozer down the right wing and without doubt one of the most disciplined, determined and brightest attacking players South Africa has ever produced. With a proud record of more than 170 league appearances since he broke in to the professional ranks with Jomo Cosmos late in the 90s, the Soweto-born lad brings with him immense experience and cup pedigree having won major trophies with both Cosmos and SuperSport United in his eight-year period of his professional career.
“It’s a very good record and accomplishment that every professional player can be proud of, I am no different. I cherish my time and success with my previous clubs (referring to Cosmos and SuperSport). Nevertheless I have already turned–on the new page of my life and looking forward to emulating past achievements, and what a better way it would be to do it with a big team that has a proud history such as Orlando Pirates,” said Mabalane.
Blessed with speed, exceptional ball control, fine skill, mental and physical strength, the is no uncertainty that the ‘Terminator’ fits perfectly in the Mighty Buccaneers’ unique style of play that entails keeping the ball on the ground, quick passing and plenty of one twos, as well as movement of the ball. “Apart from management’s vision, I felt much easy with Pirates’ modern style of play that suits mine. I know I am faced with a serious challenge of tussling for a position in the team with the best players in the league, but I am determined to overcome them and make my stay worthwhile at this massive club.”
“Playing for the Buccaneers infront of huge and passionate supporters ever week will bring the best out of me and enhance my performance in the field of play. It also goes without saying that-there is no local club that attracts attention like Orlando Pirates.
Having started his football career playing for a number of amateur teams in his township, Tladi, Soweto, Mabalane’s rapid rise to stardom stated when he joined Diekloof Hellenic and later on Jomo Cosmos Academy as a fresh-faced youngster aged only 17-years-old.
“My recruitment to Cosmos came after we (referring to Diepkloof Hellenic) played a match against their juniors team that has the likes Bamuza Sono, Thabang Molefe and Aaron Mokoena, to name just a few in their line-up,” recalls Mabalane.
“At the beginning it wasn’t a big deal for me to play for a professional club’s academy, only after my promotion to the first team that I started to take my career seriously. Since then, I never looked back. I am also glad I managed to balance my both my soccer career and education,” said the Barnato Park High School (in Berea) matric graduate.
Following a successful term with ‘Ezenkosi’, the national Under 20 and Bafana Bafana international moved for greener pastures in the 2004/05 season when he joined Supersport United and helped them lift the SAA Supa 8 trophy, his second on succession after winning it (SAA Supa 8) with Cosmos in the previous season.
Even though his period with Matsatsantsa was a success after making 24 appearances in his first season with the club, the ‘Terminator’ was surprisingly loaned out to Maritzburg Classic after only three matches with the Tshwane based side. The engagement with Classic didn’t last long and Mabalane managed to negotiate his way back to Cosmos.
“When I left Cosmos at the end o the 2003/04 season, I needed fresh challenges and a change of scenery. I don’t regret my actions as results are there to be seen in my first season with Supersport United. The door was always open for me at Cosmos and that’s why even when I returned to the club, I maintained the same standard and was a regular in the first line-up for the past two seasons,’ said Mabalane.
Mabalane has proved beyond doubt that he is a consistent performer and if his impressive record with Ezenkosi in the last two seasons is anything to go by, the Mighty Buccaneers has a winner in a small man with a big heart famously known as the ‘Terminator’.
Source/Previous clubs: Jomo Cosmos, Supersport United, Maritzburg Classic, Jomo Cosmos juniors, Diepkloof Hellenic
Period joined Pirates: 2008/09
PSL’ debut: 2000/01 Season
Club level: 2006/07 Player’s Player of the Year, 2006/07 Most Club Appearances in a season (32), 2003/04 SAA Supa 8 champion, 2002/03 Coca-Cola Cup winner, 2001/02 Coca-Cola Cup runner-up, Cosmos Young Player of the Year (all with Jomo Cosmos), SAA Supa 8 champion (with SuperSport United in 2004/05 season)
National level: Bafana Bafana and Under 20 (9 caps) international.