How Masehe taught Highlands signing Makhaula the art of being brutal

03 August 2019 - 14:34 By Tiisetso Malepa
Makhehleni Makhaula has signed for Highlands Park from Free State Stars. File Photo
Makhehleni Makhaula has signed for Highlands Park from Free State Stars. File Photo
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

Tough-tackling midfielder Makhehleni Makhaula has revealed that he learned his aggressiveness on the field from former Free State Stars teammate Paulus Masehe.

Aged 35, long-time Stars midfield battle horse Masehe retired in May after 18 seasons in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Masehe was Makhaula’s midfield partner last season at relegated Stars and together the pair often came under fire for their no-holds-barred approach in their tackling.

“He played a really big role in my football career. I played alongside him a lot and I can say he guided me and he was my mentor,” said the 29-year-old Randfontein-born midfielder.

“He was always there to guide me football-wise and advised me on how to conduct myself on and off the field.”

Makhaula drew the sort of public attention he might not have been overtly keen on last season after he ended Joseph Molangoane’s campaign with a leg-breaking tackle in an MTN8 quarterfinal against Kaizer Chiefs on August 11.

His midfielder partner-in-chief Masehe was also a subject of criticism from Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy after a crunching challenge on Roland Putche a fortnight before Makhaula broke Molangoane’s leg.

Makhaula is notorious for shielding the defensive line and winning balls in midfield and said he learnt all of that during his days alongside Masehe at Stars.

“Paulus taught me how to command the midfield and how to shield your defenders and your fellow midfield attackers,” he said.

“My game is built on aggressiveness and I think I got that from him. I am really thankful to him. He played a big part in my development as a defensive midfielder,” said Makhaula.

The midfielder said he is enjoying his new surroundings since joining Highlands from relegated Stars, where he won the 2018 Nedbank Cup.

“I like their style of play because they are a really hard-working team, and where I am coming from at Free State Stars where hard work is the order of the day. I like this team.”