Mamelodi Sundowns striker Thapelo Maseko lit up the inaugural edition of the African Football League (AFL) with his immense talent which saw him emerge not only as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the tournament but also the top scorer.

Maseko joined Sundowns in the last transfer window from Super Sport United and at just 20 he has already won the hearts of Masandawana supporters.

The AFL , which ended on Sunday with his team’s success in the final against Wydad Athletic Club (3-2 on aggregate), gave him the opportunity to reveal his immense talent to the world.

It is therefore no coincidence that the technical jury of the competition jointly organized by CAF and FIFA awarded him the MVP trophy of the tournament.

Born on November 11, 2003, Maseko represents a great hope for South African football.

The young winger joined the “Brazilians” after a sparkling season with Super Sport United where he scored four goals and two assists in 24 matchers.

It is this performance that earned him his first call-up to Bafana-Bafana in June for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match against Morocco.

His unique qualities have always drawn great admiration from coach Rulani Mokwena.

“In my opinion, he can play four positions… He can be a right striker, a left striker and could probably play as a 10. He could probably also play like Thapelo Morena at the back. But I think a player with so many qualities and natural abilities needs a clearly defined role for him, and that’s the job we have to do,” Mokwena said in one the press conferences.

Talking about his strengths, the player points out that speed has always been his advantage.

“Speed has always been part of my game; In football, as in all of life, there are distances. That said, we keep going faster because we never stray from the goal,” he said.

It is this quality that Mamelodi Sundowns who did not hesitate to bring out the cheque book and snap him despite interest from foreign clubs.

His performances at the start of the season and especially in the AFL, has proved to Sundowns that they made the right decision to snap up the player.

He scored the second goal for Sundowns in their 2-0 win over Petro Atletico in the quarter-final of the AFL. He also scored the only goal of the match against Al Ahly, in the first leg of the semi-final at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

With these two goals, he also finished as the top scorer of the competition. After starting as a substitute in the first game, he was permanently integrated into the starting line-up in subsequent matches.

He has been selected for Bafana Bafana’s first two rounds of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Rwanda on November 18 and November 21 respectively.