11 July 2018– When Burger-King sponsored South Africa’s national Under-20 coach Thabo Senong gave Khanyisile Mayo the nod to come in as a substitute in their previous friendly against Zambia this past weekend to feature in the last 10 minutes of the game, the 18-year old felt a massive weight drop off his shoulders.
And that is, unlike most of his teammates, Khanyisile has a former Bafana Bafana international (Patrick Mayo) for a dad, and a brother (Khanyisa Mayo) who has featured for both for national Under-17s and 20s.
Not that his dad felt massively disappointed at him that the now 18-year old didn’t have any national colours as compared to his brother who is just a year older than him, in fact, far from it. However, it was Khanyisile who just wanted to break that spell off of him, so as to prove to himself that he too, was capable enough of breaking into the national setups as well.
Mayo was part of the three players who got their first national caps out in Zambia. Those two others include: Keenan Mitchell from Black Aces and Keenan Abrahams from Ajax Cape Town.
“I’m so happy to have played my debut match especially against a side such as Zambia,” Mayo said. “I almost scored a goal in that match, which would have been a bonus to the perfomance I gave in that game. I worked very hard and I’m very thankful to coach Thabo and the technical team for the opportunity to play.
“I’m also very pleased with how I played because I believe I contributed in changing the tempo of the game. I got a bit faster when I came in and I’m very pleased with that.”
Asked on whether he called both his dad and brother to celebrate his first national under-20 cap with them, Mayo said with a beaming smile across his face: “Yes, I did, and they were very happy for me, especially dad. He told me that I must just continue working really hard and making him proud. And that was a big moment for me because I was like: ‘Yes, I’ve finally stooped being the black sheep in the family,” Mayo concluded with chuckle.
Amajita take on Malawi in their third round first leg 2019 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations qualifier this Sunday at Moruleng Stadium (Kick-off 3pm), and Mayo stated that he had full confidence in this squad that it had what it took to come out with a desired result, whether he gets to play in that game or not.
“It doesn’t matter whether I get to be given the nod to play on the day or not. Everybody is just good in their respective positions here and that’s what we need (as a nation),” Mayo said. “The competitiveness of this squad is good enough to do the business for us against Malawi this coming weekend.”