Thela Ngobeni regrets his frustrating Sundowns stint

Thela Ngobeni of Highlands Park gives his all at Lions of the North now. Ngobeni recently healed from a knee injury.
Thela Ngobeni of Highlands Park gives his all at Lions of the North now. Ngobeni recently healed from a knee injury.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Thela Ngobeni has described his stay at Mamelodi Sundowns as frustrating, yet it gave him life lessons.

The Highlands Park goalkeeper said his current team are going to reap the benefits of his renewed love for the game.

Ngobeni ended his five-year unhappy stay at Sundowns when he joined the Lions of the North at the beginning of the season.

He finished the previous campaign without making a single appearance while Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene, and Reyaad Pieterse all played to add to his frustration.

"It wasn't easy, to be honest, you just stay positive take every day as it comes; it was frustrating," Ngobeni reflected.

"As soon as you commit yourself in terms of signing a contract, you have to keep on fighting. It was frustrating, I don't want to lie.

"Also, the fact that you will see goalkeepers coming in and given opportunities to play and you are just waiting and waiting... that's where I think I got more frustrated.

"While I was sitting there it was quite difficult and I'm not a person who will approach the coach and ask him why you are not playing me. It was really an internal frustration that I took quite a few years at Sundowns. As much as I was enjoying myself being in that environment, it was very frustrating."

During that difficult period with Sundowns, the 31-year-old was loaned out twice to Free State Stars (2016/17 and 2017/18 season) where he helped Ea Lla Koto to win the Nedbank Cup two years ago before they were relegated last season.

Ngobeni, who is the product of Kaizer Chiefs development, believes he would have been far in his career had it not for the frustrating spell he endured with the Brazilians.

"Things could have gone either way. Nonetheless, life goes on. I'm happy with my life right now, I hope things will be much better," Ngobeni added.

"Now with that experience, I know how to choose my options going forward or find myself in a position where I need to decide if I'm leaving Highlands or staying. I know how to work on that kind of situation in the future."

The shot-stopper has recovered from a knee injury he sustained last year.

Before the injury, he had played 14 matches in all competitions for Highlands.

The number one jersey is still up for grab with Tapuwa Kapini, Marlon Heugh and Kyle Peters all failing to make it their own during his absence.

"Everything is fine. I'm back to my normal reality, but the only challenge is the rehab because I can't dodge that process. I have to be fully fit for matches, training at home alone has interrupted my rehab."

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