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Asthma trouble all in past for 'Slim Kat'

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa | 2017-06-09 07:08:57.0

Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs is glad that his health issues were sorted out early in his career to allow him to have a long career.

Nicknamed 'Slim Kat' for his goalkeeping prowess, Josephs has been playing in the PSL for two decades. He made his debut for Cape Town Spurs against African Wanderers on September 7 1997.

Since then, the Mitchells Plain-born keeper has gone on to make 470 appearances in the top flight and has his former team Ajax Cape Town to thank.

After all, asthma attacks threatened to derail his career when he was just 18-years-old.

"They had the best medical facilities there (Ajax)," Josephs told Sowetan.

"As soon as I got there, they handled it for me. I had a preventer and an inhaler, so it was kept under control.

"I am grateful that it has been healed," Josephs said.

"It used to affect my game badly before. I would end up in hospital the night before a game.

"I was always worried but through the doctors at the team (Ajax), I overcame that."

Josephs moved from Ajax to Bidvest Wits in 2006 and said the change of environment helped him. He has also played for Orlando Pirates in Gauteng.

"As soon as I moved to Johannesburg, with the altitude, that helped me big time. I don't have sinus problems and no asthma attacks, none whatsoever," said Josephs, who has 24 Bafana Bafana caps.

Sometime during the 2016/17 season, Josephs gave his family and the club a fright when he went down clutching his neck. They assumed he was suffering an asthma attack.

"I can't remember which game it was, but I had a fly stuck in my throat and even the doctor on our bench thought it was an asthma attack.

"I also had to call my mom after the match to explain because she thought I had an attack," he added.

The 37-year-old, who won the league and MTN8 with Wits this season, cannot wait to continue his career next season.

Unlike Josephs, some players in the PSL have struggled throughout their careers with some form of illness that affects their game.

Ex-Pirates forward, Thulasizwe Mbuyane, was forced to quit the game aged 31 in late 2014 because of his continuous battle with epilepsy.

Of the current players, Ajax striker Prince Nxumalo is also epileptic .