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Vilakazi: I change my shirt number to honour Kobe Bryant

Sibusiso Vilakazi

Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Sibusiso Vilakazi has explained why he changed his jersey number for the 2020-21 Premier Soccer League season.

The 31-year-old donned the number 11 since joining the Brazilians from Bidvest Wits back in July 2016 but has since changed his jersey number to 24 in honour of his idol the late Kobe Bryant.

Vilakazi is yet to make his first appearance for Sundowns this season as he continues to nurse his injury but has given the club a boost after he started light training.

'I wanted to change before the end of the season and for me, it was to honour my idol, Kobe Bryant. He passed away and I felt like I should use his number and relieve his memories even though he did everything on the Basketball court and my side I want to replicate that on the soccer field,' Vilakazi told his club's official website. 

'He was my inspiration, I remember when he passed on I almost broke down in tears as he was someone I looked up too and it felt like I had lost someone close to me. 

'He has had an impact in my sporting career as I could relate to some of the things he went through like being injured and winning championships and that has also happened to me. You know having an injury and coming back as if nothing happened.'