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By unknown | Jan 22, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Former Mamelodi Sundowns defender Mbulelo "OJ" Mabizela's drunken driving trial date has been set for April 28.

Mabizela briefly appeared in the Pietermaritzburg magistrate's court yesterday where the case was postponed.

Wearing black pants, a black shirt and a yellow sleeveless jersey, Mabizela looked calm as he appeared in court.

He was in the company of friends who accused journalists of writing "bad things about him".

His lawyer, Nasen Naicker, told the court that his client intends pleading not guilty to the charge. He then told journalists that Mabizela has a strong case and was optimistic he would be acquitted.

"We have a very strong case and I am confident that the outcome will be in our favour, considering that my client is a first time offender," said Naicker.

Mabizela was arrested for drunk driving in December last year at a roadblock after he allegedly failed a breathalyser test. He was allegedly found to be four times above the legal limit.

Mabizela's woes seem endless. He captained Orlando Pirates to the league title in 2003. In June that year he became the youngest man to captain the national team and a month later he joined English Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur.

His woes started soon after allegations of off-the-field drinking surfaced and reports of his alleged arrivals at training sessions drunk were splashed in the British media.

A year later Mabizela was stripped of his Bafana captaincy after turning up late for camp.

Three years ago he joined Sundowns but was later found guilty of using dagga and banned for six months last year.

Last year Mabizela and Shere Lekgothoane were charged by the PSL for misconduct. This related to assault and unsportsmanlike behaviour after an incident during an MTN8 match against SuperSport United in September.

Lekgothoane's horrific flying tackle on Anthony Laffor, who was taken to hospital with suspected fractured ribs, sparked an ugly fracas between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns players.

Mabizela was also accused of punching United's striker Glen Salmon. Also in September, it was reported that he crashed his car while under the influence of liquor after his team lost to Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 finals.


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