Jabulani ‘Mavotja’ Maluleke is making one his former coaches proud with his remarkable progress in his professional career over the years.
Last month, the attacking midfielder turned 38, and is still going strong with Polokwane City in a career of over 18 years.
From having worked with the free-kick specialist when it all started for him, legendary coach Jacob Sakala recalls the skepticism and challenges he was faced with when he introduced the Chiawelo-born player in the professional ranks.
“I picked Jabu Maluleke from Chiawelo and took him to Dangerous Darkies. l went with him to Leopards when I left the club. (David) Thidiela and Shakes Mashaba rejected him. He (Thidiela) asked me, ‘Why did you bring me a skeleton? But l played him (Maluleke) by force. I told him (Thidiela), ‘You will shake my hand in the end.’ I was coaching Leopards for the fourth time,” Sakala told the Siya crew.
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“Thidiela gave me R200 (after the match). I don’t forget! He sold him for R3 million to SuperSport United. When I took Jabu there (Leopards), he was a small boy and skinny. I told him, ‘I see future in you, you are a general.’ Even at Dynamos (another club that Sakala coached), they didn’t like him. When I left Dynamos for Dangerous Darkies, I took Jabu with me. I was provided with accommodation and Jabu was staying with me. We were on course to win promotion that year when I was offered big money elsewhere and I left that team. We were number two (on the log),” the coach added.
Maluleke previously also played for SuperSport United in his career, and is closing in on 200 appearances for Rise and Shine, having joined the Limpopo club in 2014 after leaving Matsatsantsa.