Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Warriors and Mamelodi Sundowns forward Cuthbert Malajila is probably the most decorated player in terms of silverware among the current crop of players in the South African Premiership.
The Zimbabwe international has tasted championship success for the past three seasons in succession.
Over the last five years in the South African Premiership, he has won four league titles, having arrived in Super Diski as a championship-winner following his move from Dynamos in January 2012.
Malajila featured just twice for Mamelodi Sundowns this past campaign as a knee injury ended his season prematurely.
He is a serial winner, with the proof provided by the medals hanging on the walls of his house, which have been won from his time as a schoolboy in his hometown of Kadoma, through to his achievements with Chapungu, Highlanders, Dynamos and Club African of Tunisia.
Even with the national team, he won gold at the 2009 COSAFA Cup where he was also the tournament’s top goal scorer. It is only during his brief spell at Libyan club Al Akhdar and at Maritzburg United where he failed to keep his winning streak going.
“I didn’t start winning when playing professional football. I got Soccer Star of the Year awards when I was still at school,’’ he said.
“I have all these certificates, even from the time I was seven years old.
“Back home I was included in the Team of the Season (known as Soccer Stars of the Year) at all three clubs I played for, including Chapungu where I started and then Highlanders and Dynamos.
“I believe the success I have enjoyed in my football career has been down to the simple fact that I am someone who gives no excuses about putting in the hard work.
“It is very easy to understand what I mean because it shows in the way I play as I always aim to put in extra effort.
I don’t mind chasing defenders if that will eventually be of benefit to the team. That is who l am.’’
The 32-year-old says the pursuit of success has become a habit.
“Aiming to win has become a habit for me. You can never get tired of working towards wanting to achieve more,’’ he said.
“It is in my nature to keep working and never be in a comfort zone.
“That is why I believe that as long as I have put in the hard work from training to the game, I will always feel great.
“This past season there wasn’t anything I could have done because I was injured. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t play, but still won the league.
“It is a big achievement to have won as much as I have now because this is what we play for, but that is no reason to say I don’t want more. As a player, you want to have something to show for your efforts.’’
Overall, Malajila has won four league titles – the MTN8, Telkom Knockout, Nedbank Cup and the CAF Champions League over the last five years.
“There is no title I have won which feels different,’’ he said.
“It obviously feels special now that I have won the league three times in a row, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is always a collective effort.
“God has been amazing to me. When I go home, people look up to me and I have to remain an inspiration to the next generation of footballers who will come after me.
“After Kaitano Tembo, people where I come from now have me to look up to.
“I want to inspire others and be a good example to look up to because of the trophies I have won.
“I have every jersey of all the teams I have played for, except the Libyan club (Al Akhdar) because I was only there for a short time.
“My kids won’t even need to ask what I did when I was playing football because it is all there for them to see. When you enter my house, it is clear that this is what Malajila has done through his football career.’’