Cele Pays Touching Tribute To Sikhakhane
AmaZulu striker Mhlengi Cele had nothing but good things to say about the late Mboneni Richman 'Roger' Sikhakhane.
Sikhakhane passed away on Saturday in the early hours of the morning and will be laid to rest on Saturday at Wasbank in KwaZulu-Natal.
The 42-year-old's memorial service was held on Wednesday at Coastland Hotel in Umhlanga, Durban, where it was attended by his family and club officials.
Cele attributed his success to Sikhakhane, under whom he scored 19 goals during the 2016/17 season for Thanda Royal Zulu on the way to win the National First Division title.
'' There are so many things that I can say about Roger regarding my life. I started with Roger in the Vodacom League (now Motsepe League) at Real Classic. He took me from the village with the chairman of the club Cedric Xulu.
''Roger, I've come a long with way with him. I moved from Classic to Thanda, and when Roger moved to Chippa, he signed me. When Roger started his season with Thanda, he signed me to return to the club,'' said the player.
Cele heard the news of Sikhakhane's passing when he was in camp, preparing for Usuthu to face Orlando Pirates in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals this past weekend.
He said hearing the news before the big game impacted him on the day.
''I heard the news, I was in camp, I couldn't even focus. I'm hurt so much,'' he revealed.
''Roger was the only hope, we put our trust in Ulundi, that he can also unearth other talented players like us.''
Recalling his time at Thanda, when the side broke the record to go undefeated at home in the NFD, Cele said Sikhakhane was something special.
''I think Roger, as others have said, he knew how to make a team.''
''Roger knew how to put the team together. Roger knew how to have his players to be on the same page. Roger, whatever the type of football you play, he didn't change his system to accommodate you, he doesn't change his planning because of someone else.
''I think its what helped us a lot at Thanda. Other thing Roger knew us, most of the players he knew them because he coached many of us when we were growing up, so it was easy for him.
''He changed my career and another thing that I'll never forget about Roger is that. He made an emphasis that doesn't change because of the place you have moved to, even if you move to Durban.
''If you are Mhlengi, my strength was to score goals. I'll have to remain true to who aim, I think that's what helped Roger along the way to the players.
''From Classic days he was always the same and it is why you saw him successful because he didn't change because of people.''
Sikhakhane is survived by six children.
Eagles' upcoming match on Saturday against Mbombela United has since been postponed.