Soccer Laduma’s ‘In Touch’ & ‘Still In Touch’ feature has been a fan favourite for almost two decades in Soccer Laduma’s weekly newspaper.
Millions of readers turn to it first each week to read the crazy stories that Mzansi’s former players tell and to see current soccer stars dish the dirt on their teammates and coaches.
Over the years, together with our readers, we have laughed uncontrollably and gasped with disbelief at stories that have never been told before!
Due to the incredible success and reading pleasure over the years and the timeless nature of this incredible content, Soccer Laduma has dug through the archives to bring back to life some of the gems you may have missed, or simply want to re-read and share with your friends.
This week, we look back to 29 March 2017 in issue number 1016, where we continue with ex-University of Pretoria star Sepeke Manamela’s Still In Touch, Part 2 that is, in which he tore into some of his former teammates, displaying his great sense of humour. In this instalment, you will read barbs directed at the likes of Tebogo Monyai, Vincent Kobola, Dira Laka and a couple of others. Read on!
Still In Touch With …SEPEKE MANAMELA (PART 2)
Sepeke Manamela is currently coach of ABC Motsepe League side Terrors FC, who campaign in the Limpopo region. He says they have not been doing well this season and are hoping to avoid the dreaded drop to the Third Division. He is back for the second instalment of his Still In Touch and, boy, he pulls no punches in the humour stakes!
Let’s now talk about your time at Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Our coach there was Sammy Troughton and I can tell you that was my ou toppie (old man). You see, that guy loved me like his own child and I didn’t disappoint him. He’s one coach who always took his time to look at a player. He’d spend a lot of time watching what kind of a player you are and then go and use you according to your strengths. He liked to crack jokes as well, I must add. Our captain was Tebogo Monyai and he was hilarious. He stuttered, to the point that I think even if Soccer Laduma were to do an interview with him, it would take you guys three weeks to complete it. You would have no choice but to do it as Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 to save time. Usebenza ngelanga lo muntu (He function when there’s sun). If there’s no sun, he is not able to talk, ha, ha, ha. Can you imagine him proposing to a girl? Say he meets her in the street and wants to say, “Ngiyakuthanda (I love you).” I’m sure he’d say, “Ngiya... ngiya...” and by the time he finishes, the girl would have reached home. The two of us were very close, while my other friends in the team were Sibusiso ‘Shorty’ Themba, Sechaba Mmuso and ‘Spaghetti’ (Thomas Nare), who is now the goalkeeper coach at Mamelodi Sundowns’ development. Among all those, Monyai took the honours for being the funniest. The trickiest and most awkward times were when we were in the team talk and he raised his hand to make a point, while almost the whole team was hungry. We would cringe. You just wished the coach wouldn’t see or ‘recognise’ him, like it is sometimes the case in Parliament. There were times when we would beg him, “Please let us go and eat first, and then you’ll speak when we’re done.” He’d respond, “O...o...o...okay.” When you phone him, you need to make sure that you have enough airtime. By ‘enough’, I mean R500 airtime, ha, ha. Just a greeting will set you back R150 in airtime. You’ll say to him, “Sawubona (Hello)” and he’ll reply, “Sa... sa... sa... sawubona.” R150 gone!
Ha, ha, ha.
And if you take a good look at the man, you’ll realise he’s not one of the good-looking guys around. I’m sure even when growing up, he never had a dream of becoming Mr Tzaneen or something. The way he’s so ugly, his family is even scared to wake him up. What they do is they will open the window of his room next to the bed, go outside armed with a stick, and then try to wake him up by touching him with the stick. He once walked out of a shop that sold masks and the shop owner went up to him and said, “No, no, no, please Sir. At least if you steal, don’t steal that mask. Steal this one that’s cheap.” Ha, ha, ha, that time he was not even wearing a mask! That guy used to frighten the hell out of kids who were watching him on TV. While he was busy playing football, children all around South Africa would be crying. Lots of pre-school kids were happy when he announced his retirement. You know what they say about ugly people suddenly becoming beautiful when they have had a few drinks. I’m sure if Monyai weren’t a ZCC member and was a drinker, not even a few drinks would make a difference with him. His looks do not attract immediate attention. I remember when he was still playing, he only got attention from ladies when he was wearing Moroka Swallows or University of Pretoria merchandise, and I couldn’t blame those women.
Ha, ha, Tebogo must love you, for you to get away with this! What about your time at Tuks?
There, I was always with Mpho Matsi, Aubrey Ngoma, Monyai, Bongani Zungu and Dumisani Ngwenya. Our assistant coach, Selaole ‘Sly’ Mosala, had a face that resembled that of a mob justice victim. It was like he was crying, all the time! He had these big cheeks and legend has it that when he was still at primary school, they’d send him out of class to finish eating. When he walks out of a restaurant, people think he’s still eating and will ask him, “Why do you leave with food in your mouth? Don’t you have money? Ha, ha. We’ll pay for you.” Ha, ha. I remember he was driving this old, battered car and I used to give him such a hard time about it. Matsi was an avid churchgoer. Vincent ‘Parks’ Kobola had a big head. Good Lord! Whereas other teams put four players in a wall to defend a free kick, we always used to send only Kobola. His head was so big the ball couldn’t go past him. He only used to buy golf shirts because round necks wouldn’t fit when he was trying to wear them. On the day of his graduation from varsity, he wouldn’t wear the head gear because it didn’t fit him. Instead, he was holding an umbrella, ha, ha, ha. Whenever they were going on school outings in high school, they’d hire two buses for all the other classes and one Siyaya taxi for him. Even in the assembly, things were no better. The learners of the different classes would stand in lines next to each other. But teachers realised what the problem was with Kobola, so his class had two lines – one for his classmates and the other for him. I’m sure when he was young, he never had a size when it came to hats, so they’d get him a balaclava. My belief is that without that head he’d weigh around 16 kg.
Ha, ha, careful, he’s going to kill you!
He owns a couple of cars and they all come with sunroof. Eish, if they didn’t, he’d have caused a lot of accidents on the road. When he steps on the brakes, he’d hit the roof with his head! He adjusts his seat so that it’s not too forward, in case he bangs his head against the windscreen ‘when push comes to shove’. That guy must have had it tough growing up. I’m sure when his teacher asked him a question at school and he said he didn’t have an answer to it, the teacher would hit him and ask, “Are you crazy? With a head as big as yours, how can you not know?” He’s also blessed with a big nose, that when he wipes off mucus, he can only do properly so with a blanket. The other time, he almost died in hospital because the doctors saw his nose and thought he had already put on the oxygen mask. They only realised something was amiss when the guy started struggling to breathe, ha, ha. I also played with Ramahlwe Mphahlele at Tuks. His beard was funny and looked like a scarf. If you didn’t know better, you’d say he was playing in Russia where there’s a lot of snow.
Ha, ha. Sepeke...
(Cuts in) I almost forgot to tell you... Dira Laka’s head is XXL, like that of Kobola. The worst part about it is that he’s a staunch ZCC member and I wonder how he fits in that cap. It means that uyalibeka nje, akaligqoki (he just puts it on and doesn’t wear it). One time, he went to the mines looking for work and the supervisor said he could see he has got the experience, since he was wearing a ‘helmet’. He said, “Hawu, ndoda, you’re looking for work but you’re already wearing a helmet?” Ha, ha, ha.
Sepeke, you went all in on your ex-teammates and don’t be surprised if they don’t take any of your calls for a while, ha, ha. Thanks for showing us your crazy side.
Sharp-sharp, outie yam (my brother).
STILL IN TOUCH FUN FACTS:
Best player I’ve ever faced: Lizo Mjempu
Best player I’ve played with: Reneilwe Letsholonyane & Happy Jele
Biggest pay cheque: R40 000
Smallest pay cheque: R2 000
Favourite current player: Mpho Matsi
Current occupation: Head coach of Terrors FC (ABC Motsepe League, Limpopo)
Former teams: Winners Park, PJ Stars, Orlando Pirates, Mpumalanga Black Aces, University of Pretoria