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Tso: Soweto Derby Spark Is Not There Anymore

"Tso" has answered the rest of your questions! Today, Benedict Vilakazi discusses life before football, the man who can play his position at Pirates now, advice for upcoming footballers, and the Soweto Derbies of his day compared to now.

Tell us about your life before football. – Nikolaos Kirkinis

Benedict Vilakazi: I played for my school team when I was discovered by (Augusto) Palacious at Pirates. At home, my mother passed away when I was nine years old, so it was only my father who kept us going. My family were so happy that I would be playing for a professional team, and not only a professional team, a big team. The only thing I ever wanted was to play football, and to this day I still thank Dr Khoza for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Was there any specific reason you didn't return to pirates upon coming back from your stint in Europe? – Tkayser

BV: I'm bored of this question. I get asked it all the time. This time, you guys must go to Pirates and ask them why I didn't go back to Pirates.

From your point of view, who's the right man for your position at Bucs now? – LaurenceMlora

BV: I doubt that there's anyone there who can play like I did. But there is a player I think is doing well, he's not playing the same way I did but he's doing well in terms of giving Pirates creativity. He does have a disadvantage of not coming back quick, though. I watched him when he was at Free State Stars, and he has been doing very well, I have that belief in him that he can be a great player if he can continue like this. It's Mpho Makola.

What do you think of the Soweto Derby these days compared to the days when you played in the fixture? – Josey

BV: Now, it is totally different to what we had. When I was still growing up and when I was playing, there was no other game that could be played on that day. The whole of South Africa would come to a standstill on that day to watch. Today, there are other games being played at the same time. To me, that spark is not there anymore. I don't know if it's because of the players who are playing or what. But I remember, when I was growing up, we would talk about the derby two weeks before the game. This time around, you don't even know if there is a derby, not in the township or the media. People didn't mind back then if AmaZulu beat us, but we couldn't let Chiefs beat us.

What advice do you have upcoming footballers? – Bingolaw

BV: Hard work, respect, and discipline. Those three things are key, not just in soccer but in any sport. If you lose one of these things, you may not make it far. 

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