Malajila on cloud nine
By Grace Chingoma
Call him our own N’Golo Kante — even if they play in different positions on the football pitch.
For Cuthbert Malajila, just like the French international midfielder, has joined a rare band of football stars who have won successive league championships with different clubs.
The Zimbabwe international saw his club Bidvest Wits beat Mamelodi Sundowns, in the race, to win their first league championship with a game remaining on Wednesday.
The Warriors striker was part of history after Wits won the South African championship for the first time in their 96-year history on Wednesday when they defeated Polokwane City 2-0.
Malajila was on cloud nine after he added the latest championship medal to his impressive trophy cabinet, which is now decorated with all the trophies on offer in the South Africa Premiership as well as a league title back home.
He has won four league titles in his career having previously lifted the Absa Premiership title twice with Sundowns.
His first league title was with Dynamos back in 2011.
To cap that, he has landed his hands on the Telkom Cup, Nedbank and the MTN 8 Cup in South Africa.
Quite a remarkable feat for a player who has been on the nomadic side having played for eight teams in his career.
It’s a journey which took him from Gweru, Harare, Libya and Tunisia before he settled in South Africa, first with Maritzburg then Sundowns.
On Wednesday night, sidelined by an injury, Malajila watched as his team beat Polokwane City 2-0 to romp to their maiden league title.
Of late injuries have been stalking the striker who contributed four goals to the Wits’ cause in the league.
Speaking from his base yesterday, Malajila told The Herald he was excited with the way his career has evolved.
“As a person, you play football for these accolades. They don’t come easily, but come with hard work. It feels great. When I went to Wits my ambition was to win Cups with the team,” he said.
“Last season they were second, but they have always displayed that they are an ambitious side, one of the best in the league. So I was very confident that I would win something with them.
“I have won every cup in South Africa. I won Telkom and Nedbank with Sundowns as well as two league championships. I won MTN this year with Wits before winning the league trophy as well.
“It is the same tale back home, 90 percent of the teams that I have played for, I have made a contribution towards something.
“I think it is only Maritzburg, where I did not achieve anything with the club and maybe it is because I had a shorter stint there.
“Even during the early days of my career, playing for such clubs as Chapungu and Highlanders I managed to get something, either winning the Golden Boot or assisting the club finish second in the league race.
“I think I have achieved a lot but as a player, I still want more.”
The player, who turns 32 in October, feels he can still play for another year or so. I don’t want to lie, at 33 I would want to stop playing football, but if my legs are still going strong, I can continue.
“It is all up to the Almighty, as you are aware as a player, injuries come into play and at times there’s nothing you can do.
“Money is never enough. I have kids and I am no longer playing for myself, so I have been investing from these proceeds I have been getting over the years,” he said.
Malajila is likely to go back to Sundowns after Wits coach Gavin Hunt did not exercise the option to keep him and Mogakolodi Ngele on a permanent deal for the remaining year that the duo are still contracted to Sundowns.
The forward said he has tried to prepare for life after football. He was one of the five foreigners at the Clever Boys who included England-born James Keene, Frank Mhango (Malawi), Elias Pelembe (Mozambique) and Botswana international Ngele.
“I am a Sundowns player and only left with one year. I will see what happens but given a chance as a player, you would want to go where there is happiness,” he said.