Judas Moseamadi: The predator who perseveres

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As good ol’ Jesse Owens, America’s four-time Olympics gold medallist, once put it, “One chance is all you need.”

Just like a tiger crouched and ready for its prey. Or perhaps a Tzaneen-born footballer waiting for his moment of glory.

Judas Moseamadi, the Maritzburg United’s forward, knows just too well that those moments can come and go, just like the tiger’s prey.

Given, an unsuccessful trial at Bidvest Wits because of a waterlogged pitch and a futile visit to Highlands Park, the man knows a predator will miss a few times.

But once he goes for the kill, he will have his chance to satiate his hunger. That is exactly what the burly forward did when Mpumalanga Black Aces, then in the NFD, offered him a trial in their Under 19 side.

And in his plausible school of thought, it all boils down to hunger.

Single-handedly raised by his mom, Ellen, after the death of his dad, Moseamadi too had his dreams, like every kid. A hankering that just wouldn’t go away. He dreamed of one day playing in South Africa’s elite League. Aged 7, back in 2001, he started developing a keen interest in the game. But the right platform to hone his goalkeeping skills, yes goalkeeping, just wasn’t there.

But fate would have him switch from goalkeeper to being a striker, just in the nick of time.

“Fortune Mangena took me to Joburg and I went to Bidvest Wits for trials at their development. But I couldn’t train because the pitch was wet,” he says.

Highlands Park, an ABC Motsepe League club at the time, didn’t bother to get back to the goalkeeper-turned-striker after a short visit to their training ground.

His opportunity finally came after Grade 11, when he was almost wondering if the switch from goalminder to goal poacher was sensible at all.

Aces took him into their Under 19 team. In about two months, he convinced them he had what it takes to bang in goals for the senior team.

Moseamadi went on to carve a name for himself under Eric Tinkler in Cape Town City’s first season after they bought the franchise.

But after Tinkler left‚ he struggled under Benni McCarthy and was allowed to go out on loan to Free State Stars‚ where he scored only one goal‚ and was let go after six months.

He joined Maritzburg in January last year but made his impact initially only as a ‘super-sub’.

It was only towards the end of the year‚ as Maritzburg battled in front of goal‚ that Moseamedi was given a chance to play regularly. He grabbed it with both hands.

Perhaps his greatest quality is not being worried about the limelight but gaining the trust of his coaches.

“His work ethic and his work rate are absolutely phenomenal. Many people only see him as this burly‚ strong‚ aggressive striker but technically he is also very‚ very gifted,” Tinkler has previously said about the 26-year-old striker.

He has scored seven goals in 26 games both in the League and cup competitions this season. The marauding forward has given defences a torrid time with his unmatched work rate.

The soft-spoken forward is fast building a reputation as a giant slayer. He has been a thorn in the flesh to PSL log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, netting twice against the Amakhosi to dump them out of the Telkom Knockout. He struck again when Maritzburg drew with Chiefs in the league.

“I can’t say I work harder when playing big teams. I guess it’s sheer luck,” he says.

His exploits against Chiefs and a goal against Mamelodi Sundowns triggered speculation he was on his way to one of the big teams.

But he is not one to buy into all the flimflam.

“It’s important to remain level-headed and continue working hard. If at all there’s interest, clubs know the proper channels to follow,” he says.

Moseamadi has so much respect for Tinkler and attributes the People’s Team’s fine run to his exceptional management. “It’s quite simple with Coach Eric, if you don’t work you don’t play.”

He believes Tinkler cultivates a culture of hard work in any team he coaches.

The ambitious forward, who hosts a football tournament in Tzaneen at the end of each year, wants to own a club someday.

“I’d love to do business after I hang my boots as well as own a football club. I’d focus on the talent we have in Tzaneen. We could unearth lots of talent in Tzaneen if we scout properly,” he says.

But before that, he wants to don the Bafana Bafana strip and score goals for his country. It is those dreams that keep him on his toes.

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By Mthokozisi Dube

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