Gone to eGoli, eMzansi, eMsawawa

Gone to eGoli, eMzansi, eMsawawa
Published: 07 January 2012 (4094 Views)
ZIMBABWE, Bulawayo in general, continues to lose talented footballers who join the great trek to South Africa in search of a better livelihood.

Equipped with their football skills and nothing else they find it difficult to look for other jobs. At times they find themselves playing soccer in their spare time if they have found other jobs.

Some of these players, frustrated due to their failure to get meaningful deals from clubs here that could ensure good standards of living, have easily given up to try new trades in Johannesburg.

Most of these promising footballers that the country continues to lose end up taking up jobs as waiters while some find their way into the construction industry as “daka boys”.'

Those that are employed earn a few "keep going" bucks from playing money games in parks dotted around Johannesburg. In these games businessmen and gamblers bet on which team is going to win.

The most popular soccer betting places are Hillbrow, Berea and Bruma Parks.

Some of the players that featured prominently in these parks include the late Highlanders and Dynamos defensive midfielder Sifiso 'Yishoo' Nketa, former Highlanders utility player Hloniphani 'Fa' Ndebele, Ashley 'Mandoza' Mahlangu, ex-Umnungwane FC trio of Zazini 'Zaza' Siso, Mpumelelo 'Makwee' Moyo and Mayibongwinkosi Siso.

Quelaton striker Njabulo 'Tshiki' Ncube, Mgcini Mhlophe formerly with Highlanders and Hwange, Thubelihle Ncube, brother to former Bosso skipper Thulani 'Biya' Ncube and the late Dumisani 'Dunga' Dube who once turned out for Chapungu and Umnungwane FC, are some of the familiar Bulawayo players easily recognised at the parks.

Some of the players have managed to make a comeback from the social or money games and attracted some clubs.

One such player is 26-year-old Zimiseleni Moyo who has a championship medal with Zambia's Zesco Football Club.

Zimiseleni will on Tuesday start trials at South Africa's Premiership club Moroka Swallows.

He had quit soccer in 2007 and gone to South Africa but fortune knocked at his door two years down the line when former Zambian international Mwenya Chipepo spotted him and Ncube playing at Berea Park and recommended the pair to Zesco.

"Former Zambia international Mwenya Chipepo saw me playing at a park in Berea that was in December 2009 and recommended that I should travel to Zesco. I had given up on soccer but I am grateful to Chipepo who identified me and rescued my soccer career which I had given up in 2007.

"Actually I was supposed to go with Tshiki but his passport took long to come out and I had to proceed to Zambia alone.

"Zesco has offered me an improved contract and I will be looking at it after coming back from Moroka Swallows where I have been invited for the second time. The fact that they have invited me for the second time shows that they saw something in me and I will be going there to fight for that contract. I am confident that I will make it," said Zimiseleni.

Very few of these Bulawayo players at Jo’burg parks have managed to get clubs to play for.

Ndebele is enjoying a new lease of life in Swaziland while Tshiki came back home, revived his career at Quelaton before joining Bosso before reverting to the former.

Quelaton, who won the Zifa Southern Region Division One Soccer League championship and got promotion into the topflight league, benefited from the players taken from the Johannesburg parks.

Gift Banda lured defensive midfielder Peter 'Rio' Moyo back home with speed merchant Kundishora Chakanyuka returning to re-launch their careers at Quelaton.

The two were key in Quelaton's promotion.

Mpumelelo is also back in the country club-hunting  with a number of players in South Africa said to be interested in coming back home to revive their football careers.

"I am back home and hoping to get a club to play for. The truth is most of the guys that play at parks in Jo’burg are fit because we play lots of football and even train with some clubs there. There are a number of guys that want to come back and play soccer seeing that things seem to be looking bright with most clubs said to be paying well," said Mpumelelo.

With the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League starting in March, it would not be surprising to see a number of these players from South Africa crossing the Limpopo River for the domestic league or even lower leagues.

Through Simon Masinga Ndlovu, a fitness trainer who has worked with Orlando Pirates, a number of these players have impressed in training matches with Premier and first Division clubs. In the process they get invitations for trials only to miss out on contracts because they do not have valid travel papers.

- TC

Tags: Goli, Mzansi,
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