Tashreeq Matthews, the newest addition to Mamelodi Sundowns, has discussed why he chose to return home to South Africa rather than compete in Europe’s top leagues.
The gifted 23-year-old midfielder was plying his trade overseas when he unexpectedly signed with the Brazilians during the January transfer window, shocking everyone.
After graduating from the Ajax Cape Town Academy, Matthews signed with Borussia Dortmund in 2018 to begin his European career.
Since then, he has had considerable success, especially in Sweden, where he played well for Verberg FC and, most recently, IK Sirius, where he distinguished himself by contributing 10 assists and 11 goals in 33 games during the previous campaign.
After only a few days at the defending DStv Premiership champions, Matthews is thrilled with what he has observed.
Excellent training facilities
“I have seen lots of pictures and social media posts about the club’s training base, and I feel so happy to be here in person,” Matthews told the club’s magazine.
“A club as successful as Sundowns is expected to have access to such excellent training facilities. The level of professionalism and the ambition of Sundowns align with my aspirations as a player.”
The Brazilians prevailed in the competition to sign him despite his remarkable performances from the previous season, drawing interest from Major League Soccer and Europe.
The attacking midfielder, who departed for Europe as a teenager, feels prepared to establish himself in South African football, and his family has supported his choice.
“I shared the details with my family, and, ultimately, they respect my decisions,” he said.
“Also, I reached out to a few ex-players and current players like Rushine De Reuck to inquire about the club, and their insights played a crucial role in shaping my decision.
“Their positive feedback encouraged me to choose this path, and I am excited about the journey ahead with Sundowns.”
The style of play suits me
Known for his skilful and pacey wing play, Matthews aims to bring an extra spark to the Sundowns’ attack as the team prepares to compete on three fronts during the second half of the season: the DStv Premiership, the Nedbank Cup, and the CAF Champions League.
He explained: “The style of play at the club suits me. It’s a team that loves to play with the ball and retain possession.
“I have spoken to the coach, and we share the same thought processes. I am eager to play my part in helping the team achieve its objectives for the season.”
As Bafana Ba Style gears up for the second half of the season, the arrival of Matthews will certainly add a dynamic edge to head coach Rulani Mokwena’s attacking options.