Fame runs in the family for these cubs

2011-04-30 16:12

 A new name is ­being launched in local soccer’s exclusive club of fathers and sons.

Right from first glance there is no doubting who Siyabulela Shai’s father is – the resemblance is just uncanny.

The 17-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns youth team midfielder is the son of Isaac “Paradise” Shai, who made his name with the Brazilians’ senior side between 1992 and 2004.

Shai junior endeared himself to fans and scouts during the Metropolitan Under-19 Premier Cup in Cape Town last weekend.

His ball control and devastating pace on the left and right wings made him one of the Sundowns players that caught the attention of spectators at the annual youth tournament. And this was despite his side losing out in the quarterfinals.

However, the youngster from Wattville in Ekurhuleni has shrugged off the growing attention, saying he won’t put himself under unnecessary pressure.

“I am aware of the pressure that comes with being the son of a former professional footballer. I won’t let it go to my head,” said the Grade 12 pupil.

“In fact, my father has always emphasised the importance of education, and he said I should make my own choices when it comes to what I want to become in future.”

Isaac said his son first showed interest in the game when he was still a toddler.

“We used to kick the ball around in the yard when he was about eight years old. Because of the interest he was developing I bought him a soccer jersey and boots,” said the now retired Shai senior.

He took Siyabulela under his wing during his stint as a Sundowns youth coach about five years ago.

Shai junior’s current coach, Floyd Mogale, described the player as a “match winner”.

“He is still in the development phase but the future looks bright,” he said.

Mogale said Ajax Cape Town was one of several clubs to have shown interest in his quicksilver midfielder.

Junaid Sait, the son of former Orlando Pirates defender Kamaal Sait, is another player who is coming through the youth ranks at Santos.

Over the years the Absa Premiership has been blessed with players who have followed in the footsteps of their legendary
fathers, among whom are Kaizer Motaung junior, who plays for Kaizer Chiefs and is the son of Kaizer Motaung, Bamuza Sono (Jomo Cosmos, son of Jomo Sono) and Bradley Grobler (Platinum Stars, who is the son of Les Grobler).

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