Daniel Matsau was one of the most talented strikers of his generation. The former pint-sized striker also was part of the Amaglug-glug side that famously beat Brazil 3-1 at the Sydney Games in 2000. However, his passion for the game still remains and he is currently moulding up-and-coming youngsters in the lower divisions of South African football.
Who were the characters during your time at SuperSport United?
Themba Mnguni, Molefi ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe and Siboniso Gaxa. I liked giving Kaitano Tembo a tough time. I remember one time we were travelling to Tunisia and we were wearing suits. He went and bought this pair of formal shoes that looked like they had been worn several times before. I said to him, “Hey, Kaitano, why do you buy shoes at Marabastad? You must buy real shoes. Yours don’t even need shoe polish. They need Vaseline.” Ha, ha, ha. It was Tembo and the late Thomas Madigage, and I told them, “You guys aren’t used to suits, just tekkies. How can you wear these shoes of yours here on the flight because your feet will be swollen by the time we get to Tunisia?” I’m telling you, true to my guess, they had to take their shoes off when we reached our destination because they felt uncomfortable. I said, “See what buying fong-kong shoes does to you? Look at us – we are walking proudly.”
Unfortunately, when we went into Africa, we didn’t have much time to get out and check what the place was like. In Senegal the one time, however, when we were leaving the following day, we went out and saw a bit of the country, which was very nice.
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment.
I remember on one trip with the national U23 side, we were on our way to Guinea. In the flight I was sitting next to a lady from Guinea who was studying in France. She was ridiculously taller than me, but I told myself, “Akana (She hasn’t got a) chance. Ngizomshela lo (I’ll propose to her)!” I proposed to her and everything went according to plan. Before our game, she came to our hotel and wanted to see me, but I wasn’t around. Our coaches, Shakes Mashaba, Kenny Ndlazi, Cyprus Maimane and Thabo Dladla, were there! After being told I wasn’t around, she went to chill in the swimming pool. When I came back, they told me, “There’s a tall lady who came to see you.” I said, “Oh! Where’s she?” They said, “Go and check in the swimming pool.” The coaches asked me, “Hey wena (you), wenzani (what are you doing)?” I told them, “No, ngumuntu wami lo (that’s my girlfriend).” Ha, ha, ha.
I told them I had met her on the flight, she was so tall! I was walking with her, Fabian McCarthy and Simba Marumo on our way to one of the restaurants there. I asked her, “With you being so tall, aren’t you embarrassed about my height?” She responded, “No, I don’t care about that. As long as you’re here and I’m here, I’m happy.” When we came back, Shakes asked me where I was coming from and I told him, “No, Coach, that’s my lady. As for where I’m coming from, hayi khona, that’s my business.” He then said, “Yho, she’s so tall!” I said, “But, Coach, what was I going to do? You can see she’s so beautiful.”
She must have taught you how to win aerial battles on the field. You must have used muti in your career.
You know, some teams didn’t want anything to do with it, while others believed in it. They’d tell you that what happened there, stayed there. Bekufiwa, ndoda (It was tough, man)! It’s like what they say: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I remember one time at Bloemfontein Celtic, our coach, Leonard Ponoane, travelled to Zimbabwe by car. He got some muti for the team there. He used a baby oil in his muti rituals and, I’m telling you, when opposition teams played in Bloemfontein, they returned home empty-handed. When you were finished with your pre-match massage, he’d give you a handshake and say, “Yenza njalo, brother. Yenza njalo.” When he did that, you knew that the opposition team would leave the three points behind. The problem was that when we went to play away, we’d either draw or lose.
I also recall one time at Kaizer Chiefs, under Muhsin Ertugral, when we went to play Ria Stars in Pietersburg. When we got there, we did our muti stuff before the game, but it seems that Frank Makua and the late Thabang Lebese (who were playing for Ria Stars) had other ideas. Basishaya (They beat us) 3-1, baba. After the game, Muhsin was angry and he said, “I don’t want to hear anything about this muti thing. I’m tired of this!” If you remember, the Rothmans Cup was played over two legs. Ria Stars came to play at Johannesburg Stadium for the second leg and we didn’t use muti that day. We started like a house on fire and scored two quick goals. We had to beat them 2-0 to progress to the next round. But, eish... in the dying minutes of the game, Thabang scored. We were asking ourselves, “We use muti and don’t win. We pray but still don’t win. What’s happening?” Eish, Muhsin was still angry in the dressing room after the game, but he then changed his tune and said, “Now we need luck.” Ha, ha. Sometimes you just didn’t know what to believe in.
Do you have any regrets about your career?
It’s not like it’s a regret, as such, but I wish that during the time I had played football, someone could have helped me with my finances. You know, sometimes you just play football and you are happy about the money coming in, but don’t know how to save it. I came from a poor family and when I reached the professional setup, I didn’t know how to save money. These professional footballers today need to have advisors. But if you regret, it means you aren’t happy about the talent that God gave you. God gave you a talent and what you do with it is up to you. My career put me where it put me, so why should I regret anything? Sometimes you get wrong friends who’ll call you and say, “Let’s go to the mall.” Those things happen, but to be honest, everything in my football career was okay.
Thanks for sharing your memories with us, ‘Masaro’.
Okay, my brother. Dankie, Lunga!
TAVERN TALK FUN FACTS:
Best player I’ve ever faced:
Best player I’ve played with: Themba Mnguni & Ricardo Katza
Biggest pay cheque: R18 000
Smallest pay cheque: R3 500
Former team that used the most muti: Moroka Swallows
Favourite current player:
Katlego Mphela, Bernard
Parker & Oupa Manyisa
Current occupation: Head coach of amateur team Sporting Club
Former teams: Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic, Hellenic, SuperSport United, Moroka Swallows City Pillars