By Jimmy Masingi
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A SOCCER PLAYER? I started playing football at the age of 7 in the dusty streets of Alex like any other kid my age.
I went to Emfundisweni lower primary and later graduated to Pholosho higher primary school.
I then attended Alex High and later East Bank High.
I finished my higher education at Realogile Secondary School. In every school I attended, I played for school teams. I began playing club football for a team called Alexandra Arsenal and eventually joined Alex United.
With United, I played for only one year and I was spotted by Jomo himself and recruited for Cosmos.
HOW MANY PROFFISIONAL TEAMS YOU PLAYED FOR?
I played for Jomo Cosmos, Supersport United, Moroka Swallows, Ajax Cape-town, Genclerbirg (Turkey) and Vanspo (Turkey).
WHERE DO YOU LIVE AT THE MOMENT?
I live in Midrand and Alex. I sleep in Midrand and spend most of my time in Alex.
DO YOU DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES? Yes, I drink, but while I was playing, I never drank.
DO YOU ATTEND CHURCH? Yes, I do attend church when my team is not playing on Sundays.
WHO IS THE BEST PLAYER YOU PLAYED WITH?
I’ve played with plenty of good players. It’s difficult to mention one. I’ve played with great players like Shoes Moshoeu, Shakes Kungoane, Lucas Radebe, Phill Masinga, Benny… the list goes on forever!
WHEN AND WHAT MADE YOU RETIRE?
I retired in 2009 at Moroka Swallows, because I had no desire to continue playing. And I wanted to leave when I was still relevant and highly sought after.
WHO WAS YOUR TOUGH OPPONENT?I could tell when I was playing against them. It’s Tinashe Nengomashe and Hlompho Kekana.
WHERE CAN YOU TELL THAT YOU PLAYED YOUR BEST SOCCER?
Genclerbirg in Turkey
WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLAYER THESE DAYS?
For me is a player who is dedicated and gives his all when playing. Like Shaulile. This is not the most skillful player, but the most hungry player on the pitch.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE CURRENT SITUATION IN SOUTH AFRICAN FOOTBALL?
We always say we need change, but in order to do that, we need to put the right people on top. I think it’s time to change leadership in SAFA.
You know, in other countries, when the national team has failed to qualify for a world cup or other tournament, the whole executive of the football association resigns.
But in South Africa, we’re just switching coaches.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING THESE DAYS?
I run the biggest football tournament in the country called (MAP GAMES) which stands for Maimane Alfred Phiri Game.
That started in 2001 when I was in Turkey. I also run my liquor shop and Buy & Braai Butchery.
WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING WITH MAP GAMES SINCE COVID-19 DISRUPTED IT?
Yes, this pandemic has not only affected us, but has affected the entire world.
But as things are opening up slowly, we’re ready to roll; we’re just waiting for a response from our sponsors.
We are prepared to play this year, but that depends on our sponsors.