When age is not a number

THERE are so many tell-tale signs that remind soccer players that they have long passed their sell-by dates, but for reasons only known to themselves, they think they can play the game forever.

"Age is just but a number," Jomo Sono, arguably the best footballer Mzansi has ever produced, used to say every time he hobbled onto the field at the pensionable age of 38 to play for his team, Jomo Cosmos. But all he did was to kick the ball long after it had rolled past him.

Bafana Bafana strongman MacBeth Sibaya is a pretty decent guy and a helluva fine footballer too. But he should have known it was game over when younger players such as Siphiwe Tshabalala and Reneilwe Letsholonyane arrived at the Bafana Bafana camp and started respectfully referring to him as "uncle".

Look at him now! "Uncle" plays for lowly regarded local club Moroka Swallows - which is desperately fighting to avoid relegation - after his successful eight-year stint at Russian club Rubin Kazan came to an inevitable end.

Which brings Guluva to Benni McCarthy, the overweight, immobile and out-of-favour West Ham striker who at the height of his career was one of Mzansi's most prolific goal poachers.

Guluva shudders to think what these naughty youngsters nicknamed McCarthy before he was sent packing by then national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira on the eve of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

"Fatty Boom Boom", "Uncle Fats", "Gwinya" and "Tsekeleke" are some of the nicknames that must have come into contention.

Just come back home Benni, all's forgiven.

Glen who?

Talking about names, nicknames and soccer, the Brits' national pastime of ridiculing other nationalities, especially on TV, resurfaced this week when former England coach-turned-TV commentator Glen Hoddle took a dig at the Chinese, gleefully mocking their names.

Commentating during a live Sky Sports television broadcast of the English premiership match between Chelsea and Fulham on Monday night, Hoddle controversially said: "When it's not going for you; it's not going for you. It's come off his chest, his knee and his toe. It's almost like the Chinese player Knee Shin Toe."

Hoddle, who once said disabled people were being punished for something they did in their previous life, has since apologised for his latest remark.

But the joke is on him now. The Chinese have given Glen Hoddle a new name. They call him Glen Hod Lee.

Guluva reckons Knee Shin Toe and Glen Hod Lee will form a deadly strike force in their afterlife soccer club, Fong Kong Tongue FC.

Lost in the post

Guluva had for some time now been expecting a thank-you card from former chairperson of the Young Communist League David Masondo and member of the central committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Masondo was one of a few members of the SACP central committee who were not on the Machine Gun Man's gravy train - a fact that Guluva prominently highlighted a few months ago - leading him to angrily declare that BEE was in fact ZEE (Zuma Economic Empowerment).

Now, thanks largely to Guluva, Premier Cassel Mathale has appointed Masondo Limpopo MEC for Finance.

Who knows, maybe the thank-you card was lost in the post. You never know with the South African Post Office, do you?

Email Guluva on: thatha.guluva@gmail.com.