Legends Corner: Jerry Sikhosana's double life as fan and player
HE DID not only score vital goals for Orlando Pirates, he also netted a crucial goal that steered the club to African Champions League glory back in 1995, but the Buccaneers have never been Jerry Sikhosana's favourite club.
He is a staunch Kaizer Chiefs supporter but his love for Amakhosi did not preclude the man they affectionately called "Legs of Thunder" from scoring against Amakhosi.
In fact, Sikhosana made it a habit of embarrassing Chiefs and making a mockery of their shot-stopper Brian "Spider" Baloyi, scoring from awkward angles.
Sikhosana's exploits on the field endeared him to The Ghost and opposition fans alike. Despite his success as a player Sikhosana remained humble and a typical township boy.
He poured out his heart to Sowetan and revealed his burning desire to once again work with the youngsters:
MCELWA NCHABELENG (MN): Tell us what are you working on in terms of future projects.
JERRY SIKHOSANA (JS): The Jerry Sikhosana Skills Initiative, a non-governmental organisation. It will benefit youngsters who want to play professional football. It will not be the first time that I would be removing kids from the streets and working with their skills.
I worked with players like Themba Zwane, Punch Masenamela and Thabo Matlaba at my Vodacom League club M Tigers. I'm proud that I groomed the likes of Teko Modise and Myron Shongwe while I was coaching Pietersburg Pillars in 2003. I can spot talent, like Jomo Sono.
MN:So you are still a Chiefs fan? Tell us why you did not play for them.
JS: I grew up in the Chiefs family and I still love this club. Playing for Pirates did not stop me from supporting them. I only suspended my support for Chiefs when Pirates played against them. I strongly believe that if they had approached me, I would have moved to Naturena. But I was happy at Pirates.
MN: How was your relationship with Baloyi? Were you talking about the game after you had embarrassed him with those goals?
JS: Spider has been my friend through and through. We used to play against each other at school level. For the record, I used to beat him in almost every game. He played for a school called Mineza in Alexandra and I was at Thuto Ke Matla in Tembisa and we played in Super C Cup.
MN: How did you join Pirates?
JS: I did not approach them, they came to me. I was playing for Witbank Black Aces and I was about to go to training when a guy from Pirates came to my house. He told me that Pirates official Lawrence Ngubane wanted to see me at their offices.
When I arrived there, Ngubane told me that I'm a Pirates player and I should start training with the club immediately, which I did because it was my wish to play for a big club like Pirates.
MN: How was your stay like at Pirates?
JS: Generally it was fine, apart from the treatment that I first got from Marks Maponyane. It was not that bad but he was afraid that I would take his position and he knew what I could do in front of goal (laughing). But we remained friends and I learnt a lot from him.
MN: Which goal can you single out as your best?
JS: They are many, including the one against Asec Mimosa in the African Champions League but I can mention the one I scored against Chiefs in a league match at Ellis Park in 1997. It was always special to score in the Derby. Dumisani Ngobe got the ball from the middle and laid it to me on the wing. I beat Jacob Tshisevhe at pace and the next one to fall by the wayside was Cleopas Dlodlo.
MN:Tell us about your most remarkable match.
JS: Against the same Chiefs and Brian. It was the last 16 of the Bobsave SuperBowl in 1996 at Soccer City and I scored a hat-trick in that match, which we won 4-1.
MN:Most embarrassing moment?
JS: When I was sent off at the time my club wanted me the most. It was in 1997 in the Iwisa Spectacular against Moroka Swallows. We were trailing 1-0 in the first half and Jakhonia Cibi provoked me about my looks. I was angry and when I won a throw-in I wanted to take it quickly but he came up with some delaying tactics and I pushed him slightly at the knee. He fell down as if he had been hit by a train.
Referee Ian McLeod did not waste time giving me a red card. I was relieved that we went on to win the match. But I felt bad that I missed the final against Chiefs.
MN:How did you feel when you scored against Asec Mimosa, which saw Pirates become the first and only Southern African club to win the African Champions League?
JS: To be honest, the importance of that goal only sunk in much later because a lot of people still talk about it. I was in Swaziland with the Class of '96 last month and many people are still talking about that goal. This past weekend I was in Lesotho and I was treated like a king. I feel very proud about that goal.
MN:You went to China to join Hung Ta in 1999 and with your skill and talent we were all convinced that you would make an impact in their league but you spent only two-and-a-half months there. What actually happened?
JS: There was a problem with my signing-on fee and I could not agree with what the two parties agreed to so I decided to return home.
MN:You say you bought a property in the affluent suburb of Centurion, how often do you go to Tembisa?
JS: Almost daily because my buddies are there in the township. I still hang with them on streets corners playing ludo. I will never forget people I grew up with.
MN: We were told that you are struggling financially.
JS: I have been staying in Centurion for five years but there are still people out there who claim that I'm broke. But let me tell them this. For me, it's not about what I have in terms of showing people, it's about what I can give for my family.
MN: What were you doing in your last job?
JS: I coached a Vodacom League side owned by Kwazee Mpumlwana but I left in January after it was sold to another guy in Nelspruit.