It has been a week of outbursts in South African football and, as a scribe, one just has to sit back and marvel at these ill-timed utterances as they unfold.
Before I go any further, let me take this opportunity to congratulate Platinum Stars for winning the MTN8 title after beating Orlando Pirates in the penalty shootout on a rain-soaked night in Durban on Saturday.
They truly deserved it. “It was written in the sky,” to borrow from Zambia national team coach Herve Renard after they won the Afcon in 2012.
However, what seems to have stolen everyone’s attention is Benson Mhlongo’s claim in his post-match interview that his former side, Bucs, gave him insurance papers to sign, which would have effectively meant he would have retired from the game. This was after he suffered a horrific injury that kept him out of action for a lengthy period.
Everyone – except Ted Dumitru yet – has had his say about this sensitive issue, but what for me is important is that Mhlongo has said what he wanted to say. He knew exactly why he got it off his chest and has been in the game long enough to know the consequences.
I thinks we’re all just wasting our time by debating whether the timing was right or wrong because it does not really change anything in the bigger scheme of things for now. There certainly is more to this than meets the eye, but until we hear both (full) sides of the story, let life go on.
The elder statesman’s surprising outburst came on the back of Jabu Mahlangu making his way back to the news – albeit for touching reasons this time. The wayward former football star’s documentary was aired on SuperSport4 last Sunday and, oh, what a sad story. In the doccie, Jabu mentioned that when he came through the ranks at Kaizer Chiefs he was earning R6 000 and his salary was increased to R12 000 two years later.
This was met with shock and disbelief by many of those who used to marvel at his step-overs, shibobos, tsamayas and show-me-your-numbers. ‘How is it that a player who pulled crowds to the stadiums week in and week out got paid such a pittance?’, they ask.
This made me remember of an interview that his brother Tseki did with Soccer-Laduma some years ago, where he accused Chiefs of “introducing Jabu to drugs”.
Don’t we just love football? It is a sport of high emotions, where players and coaches say things when you least expect them? I still get goosebumps when I think of a Charles Motlohi interview in Soccer-Laduma in 2011, where he said, “Don’t tell me about about (the likes of) Doctor Khumalo who used to roll up their shorts and smear Vaseline on their thighs...what did they achieve?”
There was also Hristo Stoichkov declaring that “four people are killing Sundowns”. The best of them all, perhaps, has to be Ernst Middendorp resigning from his job as Maritzburg United head coach live on TV.
Too many of these outbursts, dear reader, too many. You just have to sit back and marvel at them!
Catch y’all on the rebound!
By Lunga Adam
Follow Lunga on Twitter: @Lunga110