Ethekwini Coastal FC founder and chairman Lindani Shezi reminisces about his team’s exploits in the Nedbank Cup and the journey they traveled in yester years, which brought them attention.
Shezi has been at the forefront of developing some of the fine players who have gone to play well in South Africa’s top flight.
The likes of Njabulo Manqana, Siyanda Xulu, Andile Fikizolo, Sifiso Mlungwana and Nkanyiso Zungu are some of his products from Ethekwini Coastal FC, who have gone to make names for themselves.
But Shezi believes the highlight of his team’s history is playing against Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup in 2012, where they matched the Buccaneers for the better part of the game.
“In 2012 we played Pirates in the Nedbank Cup last 32, they beat us 1-0. They scored in the 87th – a goal that was scored by Siyabonga Sangweni,” said Shezi.
The former Golden Arrows under 15 coach describes the feeling of playing in a packed stadium against former African Champions as the highlight of his career.
“When we played Pirates, I don’t know how can I say it because it was a big game and the Stadium was full, tickets were sold out and the mood at the stadium for me as a coach as much as I’ve coached in Beach Soccer in the World Cup but to play against Pirates in the Nedbank Cup, in a full stadium it was something else, for the boys it was experience. After the game five of our boys got to the professional set-up,” added Shezi.
The match got people talking and some relations were formed but the coach was startled by an invite to congratulate him and his team.
“Surprisingly in the morning Dr Irvin Khoza called me and he wanted to meet me, he booked me to go to Joburg and then when we arrived he called me to his office and congratulated me for the game we gave Pirates and he encouraged us. Jokingly he asked what did we do to his boys, he also told me that they were keeping tabs with our training sessions”, concluded Shezi.
By Wonga Sirayi
FARPost’s KZN Reporter