Fernandez: I Didn’t Realise How Big Chiefs Were…
Congratulations to Mxolisi Ngongoma whose emailed submission on ‘Saving’ was selected by Capitec as the best story to come in from a Soccer Laduma reader.
As this month’s winner, Mxolisi was able to submit a list of players - current and legends - that he would like to have to answer his questions. Rowen Fernandez was on that list and was more than happy to field questions submitted to him by Mxolisi. Soccer Laduma put Mxolisi’s great questions to Fernandez, which resulted in a great Q & A published in this week’s edition of Soccer Laduma where Fernandez talks about signing for Kaizer Chiefs, scoring against Brian Baloyi amongst other things.
An excerpt from the interview with Rowen Fernandez in this week’s paper:
Mxolisi: In 2001, you joined Kaizer Chiefs from Wits University (now Bidvest Wits). How did the move happen and how did it feel to represent a big team like Chiefs?
Rowen: So the former Kaizer Chiefs player, Wellington Manyathi, was at Wits as an assistant coach and he was the one who actually asked if I would want to go to Chiefs. I was like, ja, sounds cool, man. So he spoke to Bobby (Motaung) and Kaizer (Motaung). Then my agent at the time, Mike Makaab, got involved and the deal was finalised. It happened very quickly. I knew that Chiefs were a big brand, but I didn’t realise just how big until I joined them. It changed my life. I mean, I was at Wits for four years - I was a part-time student and part-time soccer player. Got a bit of a salary playing soccer, but then Chiefs happened and it was fulltime soccer, no studying. Now I was earning a decent salary. Everywhere you go people know you. Your private life is like no more (laughing). Going to restaurants or filling up at a petrol station or shopping at the mall, you had to stop in the aisles and meet and greet. It really was life-changing.
Mxolisi: You did not just play for Chiefs, but you got into the history books when you scored in open play in February 2007 against Mamelodi Sundowns. How did it feel to score such goal as a keeper and especially against Brian Baloyi?
Rowen: (Laughing) You would ask that question, Mxolisi, hey. So, ja, it’s always nice to rewrite history or be part of history. In the one sense to be on the score sheet was cool. To score the rebound was cool... I would have loved to have scored the penalty without having to take the rebound. The bugger up was that we lost the game 2-1. If we had won the game, lekker. As for it being Brian, no, that didn’t make it any more special really. We had a good professional working relationship always when we were at Chiefs. I supported him when he played and he supported me. The one season, in particular, we both knew, you slip up and the other guy would step in. So it was good.
Make sure you get this week’s edition of Soccer Laduma to read the full interview with Rowen Fernandez and also to find out how you can enter the competition yourself and possibly be the next Soccer Laduma reader to have a legend answer your questions!