Former Bafana Bafana midfielder, Lance Davids, has announced his retirement from professional football.
The 30-year-old finished the season with Ajax Cape Town. Davids announced his retirement on his official Facebook page today (Monday).
“Time to call it a day” – Lance Davids
The decision to call it a day and finally hang up my football boots has not been easy; football has been an intrinsic part of my life for a long time and is part of my identity. I am however in a very good place and very comfortable with my decision. I still have a lot to offer and whatever the next chapter will bring, I hope it will put me in a position to do just that, albeit in a different capacity.
My love for the beautiful game started at a very young age in the streets of Mitchell’s Plain and I have had the privilege of honing my skills under the care of brilliant coaches. I am filled with gratitude, because everything I’ve accomplished has not only been my doing, but would not have been possible without the support of so many people.
I still remember the sense of adventure and trepidation that came with leaving home for Europe at the young age of only 15 years old. This would not have been possible without the unfailing support of my family. There were so many moments during those first few weeks in a foreign country, different culture and language, very different to our Cape Town, that the easy way out would have been to pack up. In these times I had my father to guide and advise me. When he passed away I lost my mentor and confidante. I still find myself wondering in many situations what my dad would do.
To empower myself I made it my mission to learn the language very quickly and today I speak German and Swedish fluently.
Looking back at a professional career that spans over 15 years I realize how blessed I am and have an immense amount of gratitude for the role that so many have played:
• My wife, Joyce – for your unwavering loyalty and support and for being such an awesome mother to our Liah. My career came with inevitable travelling, thanks for holding the fort in my absence.
• My mother; brother, Tarquin; sisters, Anthea and Yolanda and extended family. You are and have always been my rocks. I have been blessed to be born into such a supportive family. No words can ever describe the appreciation I have for everything you’ve meant to me.
• My host family in Germany, The Badmans – Thank you for providing me with a home away from home.
• My teammates – The very nature of this game require team work on and off the pitch, thank you for having my back. I can certainly say I played amongst some of the best.
• All the fans and supporters. This game is nothing without you. I appreciate all your feedback.
• As mentioned before I had the honour of training under some of the best coaches in South Africa and in Europe. These include:
i) Mr. George, who was my first coach at Parkhurst Ambassadors.
ii) Mr. Cunningham and Edgar Manuel at Hellenic
iii) Mr. Payne, for my debut at the then Bayhill Tournament.
iiii) Mr. Byrne, for your advice during my professional career and his dad, Mr. Budgie Byrne who travelled with me at the age of 14 to Arsenal and Manchester United.
v) The junior national coaches, Boebie Williams and Steve Komphela
vi) Senior national coaches, Stuart Baxter and Carlos Alberto Parreira;
vii) Gavin Hunt, under whom I’ve won my first league medal at SuperSport United.
viii) Foppe De Haan, Roger De Sa and Muhsin Ertugral, one of the best tacticians in the game
ix) All my European coaches - what an honour it has been to train and play under your brilliance.
• Rob Moore, who has become more than just an agent to me. In many ways he now fulfils that role of mentor. I have a huge amount of respect for this man’s business acumen and how he looks after his clients.
• Lastly, Margaret Carolus, my teacher, whom I’ve had the privilege of working with while doing my studies in Sports Management. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Your input and support were invaluable.
Some of the major highlights in my career include:
• My Bundesliga debut in 2003 playing for TSV 1860 München, making 21 league appearances.
• Being discovered by former Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter at the age of 18 in 2004 to represent the national team.
• Voted best right back in the Swedish League in 2007 and 2008.
• An invitation from Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United to trial in 2007.
• Winning the PSL league with SuperSport United in 2009.
• Captain of the national under - 20 and under - 23 teams.
• Being selected by Carlos Alberto Parreira for the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.
• Playing in the Afcon and Confederation Cup League
• Numerous Junior awards
Yes. I’ve been blessed with a successful career and have accomplished much, but none of it would have been possible through determination, hard work and non-negotiable professionalism at all times. If I could pass on some advice to aspiring youngsters; work hard, recognize and use every opportunity to improve, the competition is tough. The world of professional football is attractive, make sensible and responsible choices, think of your future, invest and be prepared at all times.
It has been an awesome ride, doing what I love best and thank you to each and every one who has been part of it.