How Scara Ngobese, Jabu Mahlangu and Steve Lekoelea inspired Pirates star Makaringe
Fortune Makaringe says he performs tricks in football matches partly to scare the opposition and win games, but also to inspire today’s youngsters — just like the late Emmanuel 'Scara' Ngobese, Steve Lekoelea and Teko Modise once inspired him.
Makaringe drew the ire of Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane this season, who accused the player of “showboating” in Pirates’ 1-0 Absa Premiership win against the Brazilians at Orlando Stadium in January.
But the former Maritzburg United midfielder has defended tricks in football games, which he said can lift a team and stir excitement in the crowd.
Makaringe asked, with the art dying in SA, who will inspire current youngsters to continue a practise that, when properly used, can be a devastating weapon?
“I’m from Vosloorus. I remember my dad used to take me to Katlehong to go and watch players like 'Scara' Ngobese,” said the 26-year-old.
“One game was New Jack City vs Amarondoli. In Amarondoli there was Teko Modise, Masibusane Zongo [and] Mthokozisi Yende. Junior Khanye was in Scara Ngobese’s team New Jack,” he said.
“You can imagine the skills. Teko was still playing as a winger. I didn’t know much about him because he was still playing in the First Division.
“After such games I would be inspired. I went home, I would try tricks. I was one of those children who wherever I went my ball went with.
“Scara Ngobese would do those tricks in the PSL,[as would] Jabu Mahlangu [and] Steve Lekoelea, my favourite player. And at the other end I would see Jabulani Mendu playing all those passes. I got inspiration from those players.
“Growing up, I think in about 2008, I would see Khethokwakhe Masuku do all those tricks for Pirates — because I grew up supporting Pirates, as much as I also loved players from Kaizer Chiefs.
“I’d go and take my ball and try to emulate him. So the inspiration that I got from TV is significant to me, and was to other children out there.
“Now that I’ve got the chance to be on TV, and playing for a team like Pirates, I reflect on the things and players who inspired me.
“All the players who inspired me were skilful players. And I’m one of the skilful players, with so many tricks, even if maybe I’ve been playing simple.
“So what is there to do to inspire the children at home if the ones playing in the PSL are shying away from doing those tricks?
“There are so many players in the PSL who are skilful, but they are afraid of doing those tricks because they know that they are going to be called names and stuff.”
Makaringe said young players today need skilful football heroes to inspire them to continue the best traditions of South African football.
“The last time I saw a child writing the number on his jersey was 22 — for Percy Tau. What happened to our jersey number 10s, 11s, 15s, 7s? That should be a concern.
“People say they loved Jomo Sono because he wore number 10, loved 'Heel Extension' Mkhari, 'Teenage' Dladla, 'Ace' Mnini, 'Professor' Ngubane, Doctor Khumalo. John 'Shoes' Moshoeu in the national team — I would write number 10 [on my jersey] because of him. But now I don’t even see children writing the numbers of today’s players. Maybe [Thembinkosi] Lorch.
“If we are playing in the PSL and we don’t even want to show our skills so that the young children do that, we are in trouble.”
Makaringe signed for Pirates from Maritzburg in June, and has been influential in his first season at the Buccaneers.