Phuti Minaj says clubs have a problem with his sexuality, but he won’t give up

Picture credit: Instagram.
Picture credit: Instagram.

He is openly gay - and a proud goalkeeper - but believes despite being "good enough" to play in the PSL, doors are shut in his face.

To many the name Phuti Lekoloane might probably not ring a bell, he however said he was ready to tell his story.

Born in Moletjie, Polokwane, 25 years ago, and raised in Tembisa, Lekoloane or "Phuti Minaj" as he puts it on his Facebook page, has struggled to break through into the top-flight.

He has been on trial with five PSL clubs, he said.

Lekoloane, who now plays for Tornado in the ABC Motsepe League in the Eastern Cape, claims he has been snubbed because he is gay.

He is a big fan of Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, but feels he is unable to follow in Slim Kat's footsteps because he has been discriminated against.

"I almost quit, because I was tired. People wouldn't look at my talent, but rather at how they can accommodate me," Lekoloane said.

Tornado spotted him playing for JDR Stars in the ABC Motsepe League promotion playoffs last year and snapped him up three months ago.

He also played for Alexandra United where he was teammates with current Ajax Cape Town winger, Thabo Mosadi.

Lekoloane said he is treated well at Tornado, but like any other player in the lower leagues, he hopes to break through, and wishes he could be judged on ability rather than sexuality.

"I tried with some PSL clubs, but I wasn't successful because they were concerned with my sexuality. That would break my spirit.

"I was once given a chance to train with Orlando Pirates and I was there for three months, but unfortunately I wasn't signed. But it had nothing to do with my sexuality. It was good [at Pirates]. It was under [their former coach] Roger de Sa," he said.

"I won't mention the other teams. It's a sensitive issue, because I was overlooked as I'm gay.

"One needs to make peace with it."

Lekoloane believes football people are worried about how gay players would behave around their teammates, but he said they have nothing to worry about.

"I know a few PSL players who are gay, but are scared they would be judged if they come out, just like we see in our communities," Lekoloane said.