Tlou Molekwane and Kaizer Chiefs’ new coach Stuart Baxter have a history that some may not know about.
Pity, though, there’s no chance of them working together again and perhaps reminiscing on the time they met back in 2006, when Baxter – then the man at the helm of Bafana Bafana – called up the little-known Molekwane to the senior national team.
Just recently Molekwane had to discover ‘‘in the newspapers’’ that he was no longer wanted by Chiefs after the club announced, without his knowledge, that he and a few others had been placed on the transfer list and that they could pursue careers elsewhere.
Well, he has already managed to find a new home.
“I have signed a two-year contract with (Bidvest) Wits with an option to renew,” he said on Friday, leaving Amakhosi after a six-year stay, in the junior and senior team.
Had Amakhosi’s management waited a little longer for Baxter to assess the squad during pre-season, which starts on Tuesday, the coach would have taken one look at Molekwane and maybe, just maybe memories of the Bafana camp in 2006 would have returned in a jiffy.
“Baxter called me up to the senior national team in 2006. I was representing the national under-17 team at the time. I remember we were playing against Sudan and he was there watching the game.
‘‘After the game he called me to the national (senior) team and I trained with them. It was a great experience,” Molekwane recalled.
If the coach thought Molekwane was good enough to train with the senior national team back then, at such a young age, he probably would have given the right back a chance to prove himself in the Amakhosi line-up regularly.
But as many players have come to know, clubs in SA – especially Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns – don’t need to get permission from their coaches to release or buy players. That’s just how it is in the PSL.
“Maybe if I had stayed at Chiefs I would have played … There’s Siboniso Gaxa and Jimmy Tau in the team. Maybe the coach would have played them,” said Molekwane, who has also represented SA at Under-20 level.
Promoted to the Amakhosi first team in 2010, Molekwane joined Chiefs’ development aged 16 and was promoted four years later.
He’s career, however, is yet to take off. He had to watch from the bench as Tau played at right back for Amakhosi. And whenever he did get an opportunity to play, he found himself in the sick bay, nursing injuries.
He believes a move to Wits will bring about a change in fortune, although he will have stiff competition for a place in the team from the likes of Sipho Mngomezulu and youngster Katlego Pule.
“I believe I can make my mark now. I know nothing comes easy, but I’m willing to work hard to reach my goals. I want to play for the national team.
“I will join my new teammates on Tuesday (tomorrow) for the start of pre-season, and I am excited about my new challenge.
“I’m happy with the move and now I can start my new life,” Molekwane said.