Where youth has predominance in speed, agility and flexibility, an experienced footballer makes up in calm, poise and timing. FARPost takes a look at some of South Africa’s ageing stars and the contributions they made to their respective teams.
1. Jabulani Maluleke
The first man to come to mind is the 38-year-old from Chiawelo, Soweto who is ageing gracefully. Of course, his Polokwane City went down after an indifferent season, but his contribution cannot be faulted since his arrival in 2014. He has 188 appearances for ‘Rise and Shine’ and netted 21 goals. He has been the pillar of strength in the midfield of the Limpopo-based side. The former Dynamos, Dangerous Darkies, Black Leopards and SuperSport United attacking midfielder is the kind of a player who works hard on and off the field, and always ready to play whenever given a chance. His ability to take awesome set pieces have been magnificent and beneficial. Earlier this year, he told FARPost he was still raring to go, but has now been let go by the club as they head to the GladAfrica Championship.
2. Moeneeb Josephs
The Mitchell’s Plain-born keeper began his career with Cape Town Spurs at the age of 17 in 1997 and played for its successor Ajax Cape Town for seven years. Slim Kat’s football career blossomed at Ajax Cape Town where he made 115 appearances. During the just-ended season, the 40-year-old AmaZulu goalkeeper transitioned to interim co-coach with limited playing opportunities. His good work with Ayanda Dlamini as a co-coach has helped Usuthu to survive the chop. His ability to kick with both feet, play as a sweeper and distribute the ball comfortably is what made him unique throughout his career. The veteran goalkeeper has won the PSL title three times, twice with Orlando Pirates and once with Bidvest Wits. His loyalty to the beautiful game comes second to none. Josephs is considered as one of the highly rated goalkeepers in Mzansi. But, could he be at the end of his playing career? Only time will tell.
3. Vuyo Mere
After starring in Moroka Swallows’ return to the topflight, one expects to see him back in the PSL guiding the youthful side as they fight to assert themselves and stay in the big boys’ League. The former Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and Platinum Stars player turned his life for the better when he joined Swallows in the GladAfrica Championship. His experience undoubtedly had a big impact on Swallows’ success as he featured in 23 games. The 36-year-old Swallows defender will get another chance to play in the PSL and prove to those who shut the door on his face that he still has a thing or two to offer.
4. Bernard Parker
The man has had a rough 2019-20 PSL campaign as he played 27 league games without finding the back of the net. As Kaizer Chiefs mourn a botched title campaign, he is that one man they would not want to see in their colours next season. Playing in an attacking midfield position might have been a problem for him because he has been playing as a false 9 in the past seasons for Amakhosi. This is the first time Parker failed to score a goal in a season since he joined the Glamour boys in 2011. A lot would have been expected from him as the Soweto giants fought to capture a title they last won 5 seasons ago, but that was not to be.
5. Lebogang Mokoena
Cheeseboy goes about his business calmly and one cannot imagine The Birds dressing room without him next season. Like Mere, his experience certainly counted for Maswaiswai. The former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns left winger was phenomenal for Swallows this season. At his age, defenders can only underestimate his pace and trickery at their own peril. The Diepkloof-born winger appeared in 28 matches in the 2019-20 GladAfrica Championship. The 33-year-old’s influence earned him the armband of the Dube Birds after the club bought Maccabi FC status in the NFD. Mokoena is expected to continue with his stellar performance when he returns for the 2020-21 PSL campaign.
6. Reneilwe Letsholonyane
Letsholonyane’s ability to bring stability in the midfield, once again, proved good but not all the time. Having played 11 league games with a total of 482 minutes for the Lions of the North this season, Yeye has been a source of experience and guidance to young players at Highlands Park. But with the club headed for extinction after being sold, it remains to be seen where the former Kaizer Chiefs midfield enforcer will wind up his career.
7. Wayne Sandilands
The Orlando Pirates keeper is one of the underrated goalies in the PSL, yet he has been instrumental between the sticks for the Sea Robbers as he played 27 games with 12 clean sheets this season. The 37-year-old shot-stopper has played a total of 207 PSL games and won it twice in his playing career. The veteran goalkeeper has had a fair share of play in the top-flight, having played for teams like SuperSport United, Platinum Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns. He will be hoping to be among the nominated goalkeepers for the Absa Premiership Golden Glove.
8. Thabiso Semenya
Semenya (37) is one of the experienced defenders in the PSL. His defensive ability and man-marking role at the right-back is usually overlooked. The Polokwane City defender only managed to play 4 games for Polokwane-based side after he joined them early in January. He certainly did not play as much as he would have expected. The former Platinum Stars and Baroka FC man has played a total number of 140 PSL games in his career. A player of Semenya’s calibre is a rare breed in South African football.
By Mauwane Raophala