Drugs ban taught Bibo big lessons

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo.
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Ex-Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo says he is grateful for the opportunity to play football again after a two-year absence.

"Bibo" was slapped with a four-year drugs ban in 2016 after admitting guilt for using cocaine, which resulted in his contract being terminated by Pirates.

Within a few months, he felt the impact of being jobless when he was forced to let go of his Mercedes-Benz CLA, among other valuables.

"For two or three months without a salary I felt it, so it was not easy. My father was helping me and some of my friends were there for me financially. I'm thankful.

"But some of the things I had to let go because I couldn't pay for them. This had a big [negative] impact on my life and you must remember that when it happened, my son had just been born.

"I wanted to give him better opportunities and take care of him but I couldn't provide for him. It was one of the reasons that made me change my life," Ntshumayelo said.

"I made a mistake in my life and he was not there. I was obviously selfish and was just thinking about myself. Maybe if he wasn't born, I would have carried on with the drugs and gave up," said Ntshumayelo, who insisted that his cocaine use was a once-off thing that happened over a crazy weekend with friends.

But now Ntshumayelo, 28, has a second chance after a successful appeal, which reduced the sentence from four to two years.

"I'm relieved to be back at 28 instead of when I'm 30. It's something that worried me when I was banned," said the Heilbron, Free Statez-born, midfielder.

"I'm grateful for the things that happened, bad and good. Maybe it was supposed to be a part of my life - a part of my story," he continued.

The good news is that he may start training with a PSL team from next week, but he didn't want to mention the three clubs interested in him.

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