Here is the story: After his top performances in the Dstv Premiership and the Caf Champions League, it seems like the inevitable has happened for Cassius Mailula.
The 21-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns forward has attracted interest from overseas, from the French Ligue 1 to be specific, according to his agent, Karabo Mathang.
“We have had some interest but nothing we can report on at the moment,” Mathang told KickOff.
“The interest is specifically from France. To be honest, we’ve had few enquiries from France.
“So, the interest is from France but I am not at liberty to share the club’s name. That’s because it is still sensitive. So, at the moment, that’s all I can say.
“But the interest is there and it is from a premier division [Ligue 1] in France. It seems like his name has popped up at more than one club over there.”
The fact of the matter is: Cassius Mailula is a top footballer. His impressive performances for Mamelodi Sundowns domestically and on the continent cannot be ignored.
The youngster has scored sixteen goals in twenty-one appearances for Downs, providing four assists.
That means he has been involved in 20 goals Sundowns has scored in twenty-one matches he has played in, which is a major impact for a player to make by any standards.
While the calls for him to be included in the next Bafana squad are a no brainer, an overseas move is now on the picture, and that is something to ponder on.
Mailula is on his first season in the top flight, which means he still has a lot to learn and improve on, as his coach mentioned in the post-match conference after Mailula scored the solitary goal that saw Downs beating Orlando Pirates 1-0 a few weeks ago.
“Don’t watch the goal, but the contribution throughout the match,” Mokwena said.
“There’s still so much to improve. The decision-making on the transitions lets him down. He’s still very young and needs a lot of coaching to be done.
“But I said a couple of weeks ago, offensive players have to improve by experiencing these situations and getting better. But I am very proud of him.”
When Mokwena says the youngster still has a lot to learn, it is hard to argue with him. The astute tactician works with the player every day, so he knows what he is talking about.
But on the other hand, Mailula has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he is a top footballer, having adapted to the highly competitive and intense continental football with ease, making an immediate impact.
While Downs may want to hold on to the youngster for football reasons, including his further development, financial reasons might also come into play.
The more they keep Mailula, the more he dishes out top performances, the higher his market value will go.
He is currently valued at 250k € by Transfermarkt, which is 4 878 935,00 in South African Rand.
No one can blame Downs for holding on for a better financial reward for their top product.
In a nutshell: Mailula’s overseas move would be good for South African football.
We need more of our top talents playing in top leagues, but a lot of factors will come into play, and the player’s own interests will have to be taken into consideration when the decision is made, including his psychological readiness for the grueling European game.
In football terms though, Mailula has shown that he can play against the best.