JOHANNESBURG - Thandani Ntshumayelo, the former Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United midfielder on Tuesday won an appeal to have his four-year ban for using cocaine cut to two, which he has already served.
Ntshumayelo can return to playing immediately as he is a free agent. But what are his odds? Below, Mazola Molefe lists five players who also had to find a way around their respective sanctions after the use of prohibited substances.
At 30, the then Kaizer Chiefs midfielder was banned for two years after testing positive for the banned substance, methyltestesosterone. Chiefs appealed. The ban was reduced to six months as per Fifa regulations for first time offenders and Zwane returned to action just in time for the 2004-05 season.
Mbulelo ‘OJ’ Mabizela
This former Bafana Bafana skipper endured a spell on the sidelines of a football pitch for six months. He was told footballers weren’t permitted to smoke the ‘holy herb’ (marijuana). But this was far from a life sentence for the 26-year old. What became his undoing was the constant drug and alcohol abuse, which had cost him his career as a Tottenham Hotspur player about a year earlier. Mabizela would go on to play football for nine more years.
Like Ntshumayelo, the striker nicknamed ‘Romario’ because of his physique, pace and power on the pitch saw his career go up in smoke. In November 2008, Maselesele tested positive for cocaine and was banned from football for two years - but he never kicked a ball in the PSL ever again. Coincidentally, he was also 28 at the time. Maselesele was one of the first players from the Safa School of Excellence to travel to Spain and Holland in an attempt to land a contract with giants Barcelona and Ajax, respectively. He retired a year after he’d served his sentence having not been able to revive his career, locally at least.
Daniel ‘Sailor’ Tshabalala
This was a rare case - the versatile player was first handed a two-year ban for the use of marijuana, which was then overturned on appeal and reduced to a week’s community service. Tshabalala was able to return to the pitch almost immediately, but this raised eyebrows due to the lack of consistency by the Safa disciplinary committee at the time as they had forced Mabizela to serve his full sentence for a similar offence. The Platinum Stars player still had to pay R55 000, of which R20 000 was suspended for a year.
The winger was given a four-month ban after he tested positive for using a banned stimulant (methylhexaneamine). Given that he was 34-years-old, it looked like his career was over. But Dladla was offered a 12-month extension to his Chiefs contract andwent on to play for Moroka Swallows until he retired late in 2015.