The legendary Siyabonga Nomvethe is a true legend of South African football, and deserves a proper send-off and even more respect for his accomplishments when he finally hangs up his boots at the end of the season.
Bhele, as Nomvethe is affectionately known as to his supporters, has been one of the most consistent South African footballers over the past two decades.
The KwaMashu-born forward burst on to the scenes back in 1997, then in the colours of African Wanderers.
The mercurial Nomvethe only lasted one season at the Durban-based side as big clubs came a knocking for his services after an impressive debut season.
Kaizer Chiefs won the race for his signature in 1998.
At Amakhosi, he spent three seasons playing quality football. He was menacing and deadly in front of the posts, and in 2001, Bhele earned a career-defining move to Udinese in the Italian Serie A.
He spent eight years in Europe, playing for various sides like Salernitana, Empoli, Djugarderns and Aalborg.
This is also the same man who propelled Bafana Bafana to their maiden victory at the Fifa World Cup, netting the winner against Slovenia in 2002 at Japan/Korea.
Bhele also happened to be the striker who guided the SA to their maiden victory against European opposition back in 1999 against Sweden in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Nomvethe is not an ordinary footballer and deserves more than his fair share of praise. He is an icon, but I feel that he is not a well celebrated one, if you consider all his accomplishments in a glittering career.
At 41, Nomvethe is still going strong and remains the all-time leading goal-scorer in the history of the PSL.
In December, he announced his retirement from the beautiful game, but AmaZulu decided to extend his stay until the end of the season.
His last game is set to be against Bloemfontein Celtic on May 11 at Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.
A guard of honour is imperative to hail the legendary Nomvethe in that game. But before that encounter, Usuthu will lock horns against Black Leopards at King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi.
The game is scheduled to take place on May 8, and this should be a sold-out affair.
Nomvethe will be appearing for the last time in front of his own supporters, and AmaZulu must do everything in their power to promote that game.
Nomvethe has run a good race and must reap the rewards of his diligence over the years.
The Absolute Absa Premiership Goal of the Season should be named in honour of his accomplishments.
So too People’s Park, next to Moses Mabhida Stadium, where AmaZulu and Lamontville Golden Arrows train. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if it is named Siyabonga Nomvethe Park or something similar.
He has done so much for football in this country, and he deserves respect because of it. Let us celebrate people like Bhele while they are still alive.
Let us not wait for them to pass away and rave about their accomplishments.
So, let us send Bhele off in style and honour him in an appropriate manner.@Minenhlecr7