DURBAN - Legendary striker Siyabonga Nomvethe will bring an end to his illustrious career at the end of December. The KwaMashu-born forward, who is currently on the books of AmaZulu, has enjoyed a glittering career since making his debut back in 1997 for African Wanderers.
“African Wanderers made Nomvethe, Phumlani Mkhize and Sibusiso Zuma. They gave us the platform to launch our careers. Without Wanderers we wouldn’t be where we are. The three of us were hungry to achieve more,” he stated.
His achievements include playing twice in the Fifa World Cup, at the Olympic Games in 2000 in Australia, three Africa Cup of Nations, the Uefa Champions League, and at top clubs in South Africa.
Nomvethe had the spells with African Wanderers, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates, Udinese, Salernitana and Empoli of Italy, Djurgårdens of Sweden, and Aalborg in Denmark. Bhele, as he is affectionately known, has won all the individual accolades available on the local scene. The only major trophy that eluded him was the league title in South Africa, but he is not too concerned about that.
“Although I didn’t win the league in South Africa I won one in Europe with Djurgårdens in 2005, and another with Aalborg in 2006/07. Obviously it would have been nice to win a league at home but I won several other trophies and all the individual awards,” Nomvethe, now 40-years-old, said.
“I have done it all in my career. It is time for the young stars to take over. I’ve been in football for 21 years now. Football has done a lot for me. I’ve achieved so many things that a footballer can dream off. I’ve been in Europe, represented my country in major tournaments, won many trophies local and abroad. I’m happy about what I achieved. I don’t have any regrets," he added.
Nomvethe scored the goal that saw Bafana winning their maiden match in the World Cup in 2002, and is the all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier Soccer League. “Hard work, perseverance, hunger, passion and respect has helped me to be where I am right now. I respected the talent that God gave me. My talent is the gift and I believe I’ve used that gift to the best of my ability,” Nomvethe elaborated.
Asked if he has decided what he want to do next, Nomvethe replied: “I’ve decided what I want to do when I end my career in December. More will be revealed in coming months. I won’t struggle after football. My manager, Mike Makaab has helped me to put together a plan about life after football. I’ve invested over the years.”
AmaZulu are set to give Nomvethe a job in their set-up when he ends his playing career in three months time. Nomvethe made 81 appearances for Bafana and scored 16 times. Amongst the top accolades which he won during his time as the player includes the top goalscorer and footballer of the season.
“My advice to young players is that they should work hard. They must also equipped themselves academically. "Respect is also key if you want to stay long in football. They must also be always be willing to learn,” Nomvethe said.
Nomvethe will forever cherish the moment of playing in the World Cup. “The highlight of my career has got to be playing in the World Cup. There’s no moment that beats the joy of playing in the World Cup.”