Former Orlando Pirates CEO and now defunct Platinum Stars general manager Senzo Mbatha is a man on a mission.
FARPost.co.za caught up with Mbatha (previously known as Mazingisa) who’s in his third month as CEO of Tanzanian club, Simba Sport Club.
“I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years now and I’ve build up a reputable profile through my work. A colleague of mine at CAF alerted me of a post that was advertised in Tanzania, I applied for the post and as they say, the rest is history”.
It’s not everyday that top football administrators leave the lucrative ABSA Premiership to pursue their careers outside of the country, but Mbatha is paving his own path.
“It has always been a wish of mine to serve football outside South Africa. I however did not expect that the opportunity will come in the form of a football club like Simba Sport Club.”
Mbatha says Tanzanian football is not far off from the rich PSL in terms of finance and the standard of football, and is glad to be associated with the East Africans.
“SA is a bigger economy compared to Tanzania and that alone tells you a lot in terms of the financial injection in the game and available resources for Tanzania compared to SA,” Mbatha clarified.
“I read in the week that the PSL had declared a ground-breaking income of over R1 billion. Having said that, Tanzania is a footballing nation. People love their clubs and support them, stadiums are always full, especially in the outside regions of Dar Es Salam,” he stated.
“The league is also competitive, the support from broadcasters and sponsors is huge. The other interesting phenomenon is that the league’s board is still managed under the Federation. Most of the clubs also have female teams, they also have their own league.
“The PSL has more money; a bigger economy, but the Tanzania Premier League Board is not far off, clubs also get grants this side and there is a room for improvement as well I must mention.”
In the end, however, Mbatha would relish the opportunity to return home someday and share his experiences with the football community.
“I am a South African, I will come back home. I am on an expedition and I am working on a legacy as well. Hopefully all the teachings and experience gained will be valuable for South Africa on my return.”
He joined the Buccaneers in the 2011/12 season when they won the domestic treble, before moving on to join Platinum Stars in the 2012/13 season where he enjoyed more success with Dikwena.
“I am honoured to have served the Mighty Buccaneers in the past and as they say once a Pirate always a Pirate. When you are at Orlando Pirates you are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and wealth of support, your work is not as difficult as it is when you are at other clubs. The treble was not my only doing, I was part of a team led by the chairman of the club (Dr Irvin Khoza). I saw my next move as an opportunity to test and build something at Platinum Stars, and sure, we did. We went on to lift two trophies,” added the man nicknamed the ‘Trophy Magnet’.