22 July 2017 – Not only did midfielder Mohammed Shahabodien make his international debut in Amajimbos’ 3-1 victory over Mozambique in their opening COSAFA Cup match; he went two notches further higher by scoring a brace and won player of the match.

SAFA.net took some time out, to speak to the humble and reserved midfielder, about who he is, what makes him tick and his future ambitions in football.

NM: Mo, thank you for your time. First congratulations on the victory, the brace and the man of the award. Just give us a brief background of who you are, where you are from and how you started playing football?

MS: Thank you very. I am Mohammed Shaheed Shahabodien, born in bred in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg. I have a brother and 2 sisters. I started playing football at the age of 5 for an amateur club team named AC Milan. I was spotted by BidVest Wits last year at the Future Champs tournament which is always hosted in Eldo’s and I have not looked back ever since.

NM: You have now earned your first international cap and have stood up to be noticed with that brace. What do you understand about these milestones?

MS: It is an honour to represent my country, and wish to attain many more caps in the future. I scored a brace yesterday *LAUGHS*; I am glad to have been able to help the team win. These are huge milestones as you have mentioned and I understand that many people will be looking to see where my career goes, but I am looking forward to the journey.

NM: Who is Mohammed the footballer? Tell us about your strengths, what makes you tick?

MS: I am the playmaker of the team; I support the strikers in attack and the defensive midfielder off the ball. My strengths are winning the ball in the air and combination play with the attackers when I am on the field of play. Being criticized makes me tick, when someone tells me that something is beyond my reach; I believe that is more than enough motivation to prove them wrong.

Therefore as a South African footballer, I am inspired by the amount of criticism we get from our fans, they make me want to become the best player South Africa have ever produced after Benni McCarthy. 

NM: Who are some of the footballers you look up too and why?

MS: I love watching my senior Thabang Morane; I think he plays a lot like me. He is an all rounder and never loses his energy levels. I also look up to Hlompho Kekana, I love the way he marshals his midfield and the fact that he is never afraid to go in hundred percent, whether it be a tackle or header. Overseas I like Muster Ozil, he makes football look easy by sticking to the basics.

NM: What do you wish to achieve in this 2017 COSAFA U-17 Championships?

MS: It would be nice for us as a team to win the tournament, but not forgetting what the coaches have told us, in that this is the beginning of a long and exciting journey. I wish to be able to score more goals and who knows, all is possible if you believe.

NM: Thank you for your time and good luck in your future endeavours.