'Mistake at a party' cost gutted Bibo his football career

Thandani Ntshumayelo knows his career is almost over following a lengthy drugs ban, but the Orlando Pirates player aims to salvage his life from wasting away.

This is according to his agent Tim Sukazi, who described the player - found guilty of cocaine usage and banned for four years - as distraught.

He will in the next week launch an appeal to reduce the ban which the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) imposed on him last Friday, but chances of getting a reduction remain modest.

This would bring to an end a career which held so much promise, but is now set to end in disgrace after a "mistake" gone horribly wrong at "a party with friends".

"He's devastated," Sukazi said of the midfielder, 26, nicknamed Bibo. "We will launch an appeal against the sentence because we feel Saids went a little overboard. Four years is excessive."

But Sukazi conceded the player, who has three Bafana Bafana caps, had to shoulder all responsibility for his fall from grace. "You reap what you sow, and Thandani knows that. He's already preparing his mind for a bleak future. The only thing for us is to try and salvage his life."

Ntshumayelo took the drug while partying with friends earlier this year. He was then randomly chosen to do a test after Pirates' game against Platinum Stars in January, returning a positive result which saw him banished from the match-day squad for several months. He last played in March. "It was a costly mistake by him," Sukazi said. "He says he was lured into this thing by friends at a party, but now he has to live with this forever."

While he'll challenge what he considers a draconian sentence, Sukazi accepted the rules are clear. "Saids intensified their rules in the last few months. Initially, taking this drug carried a two-year ban. But I suppose they wanted to send a strong message out there."

Pirates have sent the verdict to their legal team. "We are going through an internal process after receiving the verdict. In due course we should make a statement. The player is around but he hasn't been training with us pending the case. Our lawyers will advise how to handle the situation," Bucs' administrator Floyd Mbele said.

Mbele could not confirm if Ntshumayelo's contract had been terminated, but Sukazi said he had been told it had ceased.

The player, meanwhile, could find he struggles to maintain his flashy lifestyle, which he used to parade on social networks.

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