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HomeDStv PremiershipExclusive: The Rebirth of Mo May

Exclusive: The Rebirth of Mo May

Last month Cape Town City announced their new signings, one of which was 23-year-old Mo May, who had been playing in lower league football in Cape Town.

While City work on work permits for their three foreign acquisitions – Darwin Gonzalez, Kajally Drammeh and Brice Abina – May is set to be unleashed by Eric Tinkler against Kaizer Chiefs today.

May had been playing for his neighbourhood team Hanover Park in the regional SAFA divisions in the Cape, and the 23-year-old was scoring goals weekly for the side, who are currently top of the SAFA Cape Town 3rd Division. But after just two sessions training with City, he was snapped up the DStv Premiership club.

May is not the first City player to jump up from the lower divisions – now a regular at the team, Craig Martin was given a similar opportunity a few seasons ago.

Speaking exclusively to iDiski Times‘ Rob Delport, May said he never thought he’d get a chance again.

“I never thought a chance like this will come again,” May told iDiski Times.

“Because it’s been a rocky road, man. All I did was pray, try my best and something came up.”

He says ‘again’, because six years ago when he was just a teenager, May had got his first chance at top flight football.

After moving from Old Mutual Academy to Ajax Cape Town’s academy, May’s potential was clear for all to see, and it came as no surprise when he was promoted alongside players like Grant Margeman and Shane Saralina to the Ajax first team.

I remember first interviewing the then-shy trio as they were unveiled by the club, while Roger De Sa, who was Ajax coach at the time, had a lot of belief in May’s potential.

“Look, Mogamat has got some qualities that you can’t teach,” De Sa told me in 2016.

“He’s got exceptional speed and he’s got a fantastic eye for goal and he also shows a maturity on the football ground. I certainly hope he steps up, and he becomes a real talent because I think he can definitely make it.”

Unfortunately for May, De Sa’s tenure at Ajax was about to come to an end, and two months later he resigned. May found things tougher under De Sa’s replacement Stanley Menzo, and he never got a chance in the first team, though impressed for the Diski side.

A season later he was released by the club without a first team appearance.

A spell at The Magic in the ABC Motsepe Leagues kept him active, and playing under David Kannemeyer he featured against Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup.

After The Magic he joined Steenberg United in the GladAfrica Championship, where he got his first taste of professional football, featuring in 23 games, albeit mainly off the bench.

However on his return to Hanover Park, May found his feet, and his goal-scoring form.

“I mean it’s rough out there, especially the players also, it’s very rough there, everyone.There’s no time on the ball, everyone presses everyone,” May said about those years.

“Yeah, it was tough, you play against old men, and mostly kids but I played in the ABC and the Castle, but there’s the under rule, with five overs, five unders, even in the Castle, but in the NFD it was different because I was an under when I played in the GladAfrica.

“So it was like two three unders, one has to finish the game. So it was tough for me to get in when I was at Steenberg but I play quite a few games there. But then the under rule came and coaches are in and out. So every coach comes in has a different perspective, so you must show him what you have.”

But now he is ready to take on the top flight again.

“I think I’ve improved a lot as a person,” May continued.

“Like, back then I wasn’t interested in anything, but now I’m more open to everything. And guidance from everyone, I take information from anything I hear, I take it in.”

May has already hit the ground running, scoring in a number of friendlies for City. What does May think makes him a special player?

“I think my pace, and my strength and my determination, man,” he said.

“I don’t stop fighting till the last minute goes, until the last whistle.

“Ja, I try my best, I’ve got an eye for goal and I make runs, so hopefully I’ll just get the ball and then put it in the back of the net.

“I don’t know like I’ve heard stories of people speaking about my father, they say I have the same threat, it’s just I’m a bit faster. And I play with both feet. So I don’t know, maybe it’s just in my blood, man. I think it’s in my blood.”

May is set to make his debut for City in the DStv Premiership this week. He was unable to play in the Nedbank Cup versus Royal AM, as he had already competed in the competition for Hanover Park, and was thus cup-tied.

Story by Rob Delport (@FMSouthAfrica).

Rob Delport
Rob Delport
Rob Delport is a walking football encyclopedia, having been a mainstay in the Cape Town football scene for years. Rob has previously worked for SABC and various websites and publications across Africa, as well as being the South African Head Researcher for Football Manager and doing a similar role occasionally for EA Sports FIFA. Highly respected, Rob is now a senior iDiski Times website and newspaper writer, and is also responsible for the newspaper's editorial.