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 21 December 2011 in issue number 752, where Warren Du Pont turned back the hands of time and transported us back to his playing days. He spoke about the pranks they used to play on each other at Manning Rangers and revealed his most embarrassing moment, among others.
Still In Touch With…WARREN DU PONT
Warren Du Pont started his football career in 1986 on the books of Wits and ended it at Moroka Swallows in 2002. Earlier on, he had also had a stint with Canadian side Montreal Impact and an unsuccessful stay with Orlando Pirates. He says of his Bucs’ experience, “When I look back on it, it was one of my worst times in soccer. They screwed me over like you can’t believe! I didn’t get my signing on-fee or transfer fee, and my pay cheque was short from the first month and because I complained, they just basically put me in a corner.”
Hey, Warren, it’s been a long time! You started your career at Wits. Who was your roommate there?
I turned professional while I was at school. We had guys like Calvin Petersen, Mark Tovey, Jimmy ‘Brixton Tower’ Joubert, Rodney Bush and all these other older guys that I’d actually only heard of. It was quite intimidating. When we were away, it was the younger guys that I mingled with and at that stage it was the likes of Marc Batchelor, Peter Gordon and Steve Crowley. It was a change of roommates all the time.
Tell us about the crazy characters in the team back then.
Ha, ha, ha, I think it was the whole team! You had to be careful about everything you said there. Man, we used to laugh, hey. But I think the biggest character was Kevin Mudie. He was so funny. We used to be in the change room and it was just always constant jokes...playing jokes on each other, playing jokes on Terry Paine (head coach). We had a lot of fun. I remember we went to play in Cape Town and there was a new player, a guy called Eric Gander. It’s very funny because what we did was we actually phoned his room and made it sound as if I was a female reporter from the Argus. I told him I wanted to do a story on Eric being the new player and apparently he’s going to be a top striker in the country, so if he can please put his soccer kit on and bring a soccer ball and we’ll meet him downstairs in the lobby. All the players knew about it, so we were sitting downstairs. Eric came down there, he’d fixed his hair up, he was looking good for the photographs and the story, ha, ha...and all of us were just sitting there watching him. He sat there for about half an hour, bouncing this ball and waiting for this girl. He didn’t know what was happening!
Ha, ha, ha.
When we went to training, we used to try and have a bit more fun. I think soccer has become a more competitive game now that a lot of the fun has been taken away. The likes of Mark Davies, Grant Johnson and Keryn Jordan used to have a lot of fun. We used to play these games on the aeroplane. But you actually have to understand how these games are played. Like this one game...imagine I’ve got a spoon in my mouth and then the other guy’s got a spoon in his mouth and then you make as if you’re going to hit him on the head with the spoon while it’s in your mouth. Okay. And then he has to bend down and put his head there and then you like sort of lift up your chin and then you bring your chin down to try and hit the spoon on his head. But it’s not possible! Behind him is one of the other guys who’s got another spoon and so as you bend down, the guy puts his head down and, as you make as if you’re going to hit him on the head with the spoon, the other guy hits him with a spoon! Ha, ha, ha. Then this guy’s like, “Ah, geez, that was sore, man!” He’s so cross that he now wants to get you. He gets the spoon in his mouth and he starts trying to hit you, but it’s not possible, ha, ha. Mark Davies was naughty, hey. Yhoo! Whenever you went to the shower, you had to be careful with Mark. He would pee over the wall so that the guy showering on the other side... ha, ha, ha. So I hope he hasn’t been making trouble because I’ve got some nice stories for you, ha, ha.
Ha, ha, ha, sure...
My time at Wits was fantastic and being at Manning Rangers was the best time for me in my soccer career. I think with Gordon Igesund being the coach there, we had some good times and won the league. My roommate at Moroka Swallows was Marc Batchelor and all the guys used to say we were the clowns in the team because we always used to play pranks on the guys.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
I think it must have been in the 1995 BP Top 8 semi-final against Orlando Pirates at the stadium in Pretoria next to the Morula Sun Casino. We went into penalties and I was the first one to take the penalty for us and I have to tell you, it was the most useless penalty kick, ha, ha. Usually they say the penalty taker took the goalkeeper the wrong way. In this one, I think the goalkeeper sent me the wrong way, ha, ha, ha. Ah, you had to see it. It was terrible. I just couldn’t believe I had taken a penalty like that. It was disgusting, ha, ha. But thank God we ended up winning the game and went on to beat Kaizer Chiefs in the final.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
You know our coach Terry Paine...we were on a flight from Cape Town. Terry had just started on SuperSport as an analyst and obviously a lot of people recognised him. You know, on the plane, where you put your head there’s usually like sort of a piece of material that they put over the seat. Terry was sitting in front of me and I took a khoki pen and I wrote on the piece of material and I put an arrow pointing towards Terry’s head. Terry was losing hair on top of his head...he was balding. He had a bald patch but it looked like a baboon’s bum. So I wrote there “Baboon’s Ass” with an arrow pointing at Terry’s head. But he couldn’t see it and it was really funny. Everybody walking past him was laughing and he was looking at them, thinking, “Oh, they must know me from Super- Sport.” Ha, ha, ha, the players laughed!
Ha, ha, crazy! Anyways, thanks for your time and all the best, chief.
Fantastic, man! I really appreciate you taking the effort to actually interview me. It’s really nice of you, man.
STILL IN TOUCH FUN FACTS:
Best player I’ve ever faced: Ernest Chirwali & Roger Feutmba
Best player I’ve played with: Zane Moosa
Biggest pay cheque: R25 000
Smallest pay cheque: R1 000
Former team that used the most muti: Orlando Pirates
Favourite current player: Siphiwe Tshabalala
Former teams: Wits, Montreal Impact (Canada), Moroka Swallows, Orlando Pirates, Manning Rangers