Home Sport Soccer Chiefs’ Mathoho is a ‘Tower’ of mental strength

Chiefs’ Mathoho is a ‘Tower’ of mental strength

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“I was pushing myself mentally. I had to focus on my game and improve where I lacked. That’s why I came back stronger.”

Erick Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs during the Kaizer Chiefs Training on the 11 September 2019 at Kaizer Chiefs Village. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

THE reborn Eric Mathoho credits his mental strength to his ability to bounce back stronger from his injury, this has made him a vital cog in the Kaizer Chiefs armoury.

The towering centre-back has not only solidified the club’s defence, but he has also pitched in with crucial goals in Chiefs’ bright start to the 2019/20 season and will now look to add to his two goals when Amakhosi hosts Polokwane City at FNB Stadium tomorrow.

This will be a clash between two of the best teams in the league so far. While Chiefs are driven to end a four-year barren run, Rise and Shine have had a smooth transition from Jozef Vukusic to the Zlatko Krmpotic’s era.

The four games Mathoho (pictured) has played this season is the same number of games he played in total last season due to an ankle and a groin injury.

“It’s very hard sometimes to come back from an injury stronger,” Mathoho said. “It’s very difficult. But I told myself that I have to come back stronger from the injury. It wasn’t easy but I worked hard to be back. I told myself that I have to come back as the Tower that people knew. I didn’t do much physically, I let that take care of itself.

“I was pushing myself mentally. I had to focus on my game and improve where I lacked. That’s why I came back stronger.”

How did Mathoho beat the mental demons that could have held him back when he made a tackle or went in hard in a 50-50 decision after his long stint out of action?

“Mental strength is important when it comes to recovering from an injury because the moment you keep thinking that I’ll get injured again, I shouldn’t make certain tackles, that’s when you will be injured.”

While Mathoho was nursing his injury, Chiefs were dealing with yet another barren run which saw the club start the season with Giovanni Solinas at the helm and end with Ernst Middendorp who is tasked with bringing back the glory days. The coach couldn’t do it last season with the club hit by injuries to key players that saw Mathoho joined by Itumeleng Khune, Happy Mashiane and Lebogang Manyama among others in the doctor’s room. With a full-strength team and a pre-season, Middendorp has managed to lead Amakhosi to an unbeaten start.

“The way we have been training and the way everyone is fighting is the reason why we have been winning and we find ourselves in this position,” Mathoho said. “This season, we are a team. We support one another.”