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Mahachi feels like he belongs

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“At Orlando Pirates, I was not getting game-time but now I think ever since being here I am playing almost every week.”

Kudakwashe Mahachi believes he’s finally found himself a home at SuperSport United after hopping from one club to another for the better part of his career in the Premier Soccer League.

In July 2014 Mahachi joined Mamelodi Sundowns from home team The Highlanders FC in Zimbabwe, where he had created an impressive image of himself during his six-month stint with the club.

However, Mahachi didn’t hit the ground running in the South African domestic league, and was subsequently loaned out to Golden Arrows the following season before being sold to the Lamontville-based club at the start of the 2016/17 term.

With Arrows, and less pressure, Mahachi revived his form, and he caught the eye of Soweto giants Orlando Pirates, who he joined at the start of last season.

But the pressure of playing for Pirates crept in and Mahachi moved on again at the end of the season, joining SuperSport.

Under the stewardship of Kaitano Tembo, Mahachi has had ample reason to be grateful of, playing 14 matches across all competitions so far.

“It was difficult for me to adjust but the coaches have told me to push. And I think that I’ve pushed myself,” he said.

“At Orlando Pirates, I was not getting game-time but now I think ever since being here I am playing almost every week.”

In 2016, the Zimbabwean-born footballer endured the pain of losing his daughter, and the grief resulted in a dip of form over the years.

With the way clubs change coaches and personnel, there’s rarely time for players to have close interaction with their coaches.

And it is no-brainer that for players to churn out their best week-in and week-out, they need a father figure in their corner, and that’s exactly what SuperSport’s troops get from Tembo, who’s been with the club for over two decades.

“I think it (the loss) affected my game. But I’d like to thank coach Kaitano for guiding me because he’s always told me to be strong. I think he’s the one that has pushed me because he always talks to me if I am not doing well or thinking too much,” Mahachi said.

Having scored in the 1-1 draw with Stellenbosch FC in their last outing, Mahachi will be hoping to continue his rich vein of form when SuperSport clash with Highlands Park at Lucas Masterpieces Stadium tomorrow night.

The Lions of the North will be in Atteridgeville to roar though, determined to avenge their 1-0 loss to Matsantsantsa a Pitori in the final of the MTN8 early in October.

However, that’s easier said than done. Tembo’s men will be looking at make their home field advantage count and grab full points, which could close the gap between them and pacesetters Kaizer Chiefs, who have a game in hand, to seven points.

“We played them in the final, they are good and hard-working team. We expect a good game and we are not underestimating them,” Mahachi said.

“We not taking the fact that we won in the final into our heads, we just need to continue working hard. I think it will be a difficult game for us, so we need to be strong mentally.”