JOHANNESBURG – Bidvest Wits’ attacker Bantu Mzwakali admits that he’s still haunted by Ajax Cape Town’s refusal to release him to the country’s big three clubs - Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates - during the peak of his career, as that could have avoided the frustration that he’s endured in the past nine months.
Following his professional debut in the 2013/2014 season for Ajax, Mzwakali became a household name in top-flight football for three consecutive seasons with the Urban Warriors, thanks to his trickery and quick feet down the flanks in more than a 100 senior appearances for the team.
As expected, within that period Pirates, Sundowns and Chiefs came knocking at the Urban Warriors’ door to inquire about the winger’s availability, but only for the management to turn those offers down.
“I enjoyed my eight years at Ajax, and I felt that it was time for me to move because it was now a bit easy and I had done my part. Hence, I tried to force a move (to the big teams) but it didn’t happen,” he said.
“Ajax had a chance to allow me to leave the club when I was at the peak and they never did. I mean, who knows? Had they given me a chance to join either Chiefs or Pirates or Sundowns, I’d be a star now and probably be playing abroad.”
No love in Port Elizabeth
With a deal to join either of the three giants falling through, Chippa United capitalised on the opportunity and secured the services of their ‘long-time admirer’, during last season’s January-transfer window, in a deal that saw Samuel Julies joining Ikamva.
Before Chippa relocated to Port Elizabeth five seasons ago, they were based in Philippi in Cape Town, just 11 kilometres away from Mzwakali's home town of Gugulethu.
Hence, upon his unveiling at the Chilli Boys, Mzwakali expressed delight at joining the club.
“It was always my ambition growing up in Cape Town to don the blue and white of Chippa United”.
But that sentiment lasted just four months, with just five appearances, due to the club’s bizarre culture of firing coaches.
“I thought things would be okay for me at Chippa because I was working hard, but the numerous changing of coaches caused confusion,” Mzwakali explained.
“I then had an agreement with the boss (Siviwe Mpengesi) that if a team comes and asks for my services, he’ll give me his blessing to go and try my luck - and that’s when Wits came along.”