Who is Khuliso Mudau, the South African defender who silenced Super Eagles’ Europa hero Lookman?

South Africa defender Khuliso Mudau | iDiskiTimes on X

Who is Khuliso Mudau, the South African defender who silenced Super Eagles’ Europa hero Lookman?

Ayoola Kelechi 23:17 - 08.06.2024

Ademola Lookman was unable to repeat his Europa League heroics thanks to the brilliance of South Africa's Khuliso Mudau

Despite coming into the match as one of the biggest prospects for the Super Eagles, Atalanta striker Ademola Lookman was silent for the most part in Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against the Bafana Bafana, mostly thanks to defender Khuliso Mudau, who put shackles on the usually lively forward.

But who is Mudau, the Mamelodi Sundowns defender, who managed to succeed where some of Europe’s best failed?

Who is Khuliso Mudau?

Born Khuliso Johnson Mudau, the 5’ 11’’ defender was born on the 26th April 1995 in Limpopo and turned 29 years old during the 2023/24 season.

The full-back, who can also put in a shift in as a right midfielder or right winger started his career with JDR Stars in Pretoria before moving to local club Magesi, then National First Division club Black Leopards and finally Mamelodi Sundowns where he currently plays.

The long-serving defender has also notched up an impressive 11 appearances for South Africa after making his debut in 2022 and has become a mainstay in the Bafana Bafana squad.

Nicknamed ‘Sailor’, Mudau is known for his explosiveness and skill down the right side, aiding attacks while also maintaining defensive discipline.

Khuliso Mudau’s international career

After an impressive start to life with Sundowns, Mudau finally caught the attention of the South African national team under Hugo Broos who handed him his debut in a friendly game against Guinea.

Khuliso Mudau playing for South Africa against Nigeria at the 2023 AFCON | Imago
Khuliso Mudau playing for South Africa against Nigeria at the 2023 AFCON | Imago

Mudau was sent off in only his second appearance for Bafana Bafana against France but recovered from that setback to become a regular in the first team, appearing at the 2023 African Cup of Nations, playing every match as South Africa claimed a bronze medal.

He scored his first and only goal so far for South Africa in November 2023 during a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Benin Republic at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa. Mudau scored the second goal for South Africa against Benin, which turned out to be the winner in a 2-1 victory.

Mamelodi Sundowns star

Mudau has been a regular for PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns since making the move to the Pretoria-based club where he has now spent four years.

The Sailor, as he is affectionately known has one more season on his contract with Sundowns and could leave the club as a free agent if he does not negotiate a new deal.

Mamelodi Sundowns defender Khuliso Mudau | TheSouthAfricanWebsite
Mamelodi Sundowns defender Khuliso Mudau | TheSouthAfricanWebsite

For now, Mudau continues to appear in the PSL with Sundowns hoping to add to his three consecutive league titles with The Brazilians between 2022 and 2024.

On-field warrior

Among Mudau’s most distinctive qualities, his resilience in the face of hardship has perhaps been the most understated of his career.

His never-say-die attitude came to the fore recently when he suffered a dislocated shoulder during the South African Cup final against Orlando Pirates, but soldiered on with the injury after receiving a note from his manager Rhulani Mokwena, which read, “I said I would take a bullet for you, I am asking you not to give up on me.”

Mamelodi Sundowns' Khuliso Mudau | GOAL
Mamelodi Sundowns' Khuliso Mudau | GOAL

Speaking about the incident, Mokwena said, "The real winner here is Sailor – he’s proven his loyalty and commitment because we all saw how he played. He was one of our best players during the entire match.

“Many footballers avoid playing, even with the smallest pain, but seeing him not letting the coach down, not letting his teammates down, not letting his club down and pushing through the pain after that note – and even how he played Afcon with a grade three ankle injury – shows how much he loves football.”

With his skill and attitude on the pitch, Mudau’s career shows no sign of slowing down even as he reaches the peak of his powers age-wise and grows with the national team and Sundowns.

Related content