Siyabonga Nomvethe has said no to Celtic and Baroka. Photo: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

DURBAN – Bafana Bafana legend Siyabonga “Bhele” Nomvethe has spurned offers to join both Baroka FC and Bloemfontein Celtic.

Nomvethe has opted to instead stay with AmaZulu, who were set to campaign in the National First Division (NFD) until they bought the status of promoted Thanda Royal Zulu.

“I’m close to home at AmaZulu, and at my age, it is not ideal to move around,” explained the striker, who is turning 40 in December.

“So that’s why I turned down the offers from Baroka and Celtic. Besides, I want to help AmaZulu get back to where they belong, at the top.”

Nomvethe scored 17 goals for Usuthu last season, and has already shown that he still knows where the net is with a brace against Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland in the semi-final of the pre-season Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Legacy Cup in Ulundi last weekend.

“Bhele” is one goal shy from being the outright all-time leading scorer in the Premier Soccer League era since its inception back in 1996.

He is currently tied with former Mamelodi Sundowns marksman Daniel “Mambush” Mudau on 110 goals. 

Nomvethe also revealed that he is planning to immortalise his stellar career: “I want to write a book about my life. I want to inspire the young, upcoming generation.”

And what an inspiration his story is, Nomvethe having played in almost all major international tournaments, as well as having had long stay in European leagues.

He played a key role in helping the country qualify for its maiden Olympic appearance at the 2000 Sydney Games, and then went on to play at no less than three Africa Cup of Nations finals.

That he added two World Cups to his CV ensured he will always be one of the local game’s legends.

But perhaps even more special is the fact that it was he who was responsible for South Africa’s only win at the Fifa World Cup finals.

Back in 2002, Nomvethe scored the goal that helped Bafana Bafana sink Slovenia in a group match in the tournament co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.

Yet if his international career will make young players work their socks off to emulate him, his club CV is stuff of dreams – having played for all of the country’s traditional big three, the Soweto trio of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Morka Swallows.

Add to all that, the fact that he has won both the top scorer as well as Footballer of the Year awards, and you have a man who should be content with his lot and go out into the sunset.

But Nomvethe’s still going strong, and is looking forward to strutting his stuff on the country’s elite fields in the upcoming season, eager to help Usuthu reclaim their standing as one of South Africa’s top sides.

The Star