Age just a number, says veteran goalie

Mzimela not giving up on elite league return

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Mbongeni Mzimela of Bizana Pondo Chiefs during the ABC Motsepe League Playoffs 2019/20 match between Pretoria Callies and Bizana Pondo Chiefs on the 14 November 2020 at Isak Steyn Stadium.
Mbongeni Mzimela of Bizana Pondo Chiefs during the ABC Motsepe League Playoffs 2019/20 match between Pretoria Callies and Bizana Pondo Chiefs on the 14 November 2020 at Isak Steyn Stadium.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Veteran goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela, 35, yearns for the last shot at the elite league, preferably with his current side, Bizana Pondo Chiefs, before thinking about retiring.

The experienced shot-stopper is one of a few seasoned campaigners at Pondo Chiefs, which campaign in the second-tier GladAfrica Championship.

Mzimela, who made his name at AmaZulu, Platinum Stars and Chippa United, feels he can still campaign in the Premiership.

“I still have a dream to play at the highest level but I want to do it with Pondo Chiefs. When we won promotion [via winning the ABC Motsepe League national play-offs] we told ourselves that in two years’ time we must go to the Premiership. So I won’t retire until we achieve the goal of playing in the big league,’’ Mzimela told Sowetan yesterday.

“Goalkeepers can play until they’re 40, 45, so I won’t rush to hang up my boots. I still have that hunger and energy to compete at the highest level. I want to continue motivating the youngsters here [at Pondo Chiefs] that it’s possible to achieve dreams when you work hard.’’

As Pondo Chiefs are second from bottom on the GladAfrica table, one would argue that Mzimela’s dream of promotion is already in jeopardy this season as relegation looks closer that promotion. However, the keeper from Esikhawini, KZN, has emphasised it is too early to write them off.

“Our aim is to gain promotion within two years [of being in the second-tier]. So if we fail this season we go again next season. But that doesn’t mean we’ve given up. It’s still early to say we can’t do it," said Mzimela. 

“We have been playing well. Our main problem is that we are not clinical in front of goal. If we can start scoring, we will surprise people."

GladAfrica results

Pondo Chiefs 0, Sporting 0; Royal 0, Callies 1; JDR 0, Richards Bay 0; Cosmos 2, AmaTuks 2; Spurs 1, All Stars 0; FS Stars 0, Polokwane 2; Uthongathi 1, Steenberg 0; Umoya 0, Sekhukhune 0.

Fixtures (all at 3.30pm unless specified)

Today: Polokwane v Richards Bay, Peter Mokaba Stadium; Uthongathi v Spurs, Princess Magogo Stadium; Sekhukhune v JDR, Makhulong Stadium; All Stars v Cosmos, Parow Park Stadium

Tomorrow: Callies v Pondo Chiefs, Lucas Moripe Stadium (2pm); Steenberg v FS Stars, Idas Valley Ground; Sporting v Royal, Kabokweni; AmaTuks v Umoya, Tuks Stadium

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