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Just Watch: Haashim Domingo

Since returning from Europe, Domingo's raw talent has been witnessed infrequently, but could he be part of the Bafana revolution? He certainly has the potential
Fri, Sep 10, 2021

Gavin Hunt confused us about Haashim Domingo's capability a few years ago when he advocated for his Bafana Bafana inclusion and then subsequently used him sparingly for the rest of that 2018/19 season at Bidvest Wits.

Domingo had just joined the Clever Boys from Portugal and was eager to reintroduce himself to the Premier Soccer League scene.

He left South Africa from the famous Ajax Cape Town youth academy after turning 20 and signing for Guimaraes B side, and naturally as an export there would have been a lot of eyes on Domingo to become the next Steven Pienaar or Benni McCarthy.

But after a stint in Norway as well, the decision was to come back home and start afresh, joining Hunt at the now defunct Wits.

We didn't know too much about Domingo, but Hunt made sure he'd bring some attention towards this sensation when he questioned Stuart Baxter's decision not to call-up the attacking midfielder to the national team.

Of course, all of us were switched on after Hunt had waxed lyrical about this kid who had arrived from Portugal and was described as "a hidden gem" and whose omission from Bafana was a "disgrace".

Why the fuss? But the truth is, we never really got to find out.

Hunt started Domingo in a few matches during the first two months of the season and then relegated him to the bench for much of the rest of the campaign, using him sparingly when he was rotating the squad. Actually, you'd think they had a fall-out, such was his limited game time.

In fairness to the coach, he was right – Domingo was a serious talent and, then only 23, had time to fight his way into the national team set up if he got out of his shell with a little more help from his Wits mentor, Hunt.

And his numbers from that first year improved, growing in confidence as his appearances jumped from 14 to 39 matches in all competitions the following year. The fact that Wits also had the CAF interclub commitments was an advantage. It forced Hunt to play around with the squad and spread the load, all to Domingo's benefit.

But we still didn't see enough.

Now he is a Mamelodi Sundowns player after being signed by the Brazilians this time last year in a bargain deal due to the shock sale of the Wits topflight franchise.

At Chloorkop, the nimble-footed attacker has had to step up his game. There's Gaston Sirino, Thabiso Kutumela, Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi – all established players who can master that No.10 role whenever asked to play there.

When Domingo started the opening game of the season against Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 in mid-August, and co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi revealed that he was one of the standout performers during preseason – maybe a star was emerging, again.

Coincidentally, the praise from his new club coach comes at a time when Bafana are rebuilding and looking for the next generation, hopefully to lead us to the World Cup next year, or just simply have us think we have a chance.

Domingo can't miss that boat. He only just turned 26. If he can build on that preseason momentum to consistently fight his way into that star-studded Sundowns line-up, then it'd be easier to join Hunt's chorus.

Will the real Domingo please stand up?

  • Catch Mamelodi Sundowns v Chiefs on Sunday 12 September at 5pm on SS202