Smirnoff

FEATURE: Lebese in his own words

Posted: 24 February 2012 Time: 08:11 am

“I joined Pirates without a contract … I loved Pirates and I trusted the chairman very much” – these were the words of the late Thabang Lebese, who passed away on Wednesday night.

‘Chillies’ sat down with KICK OFF magazine in June 2010 – edition 378 and he spoke candidly of his 13-year soccer career that brought him fame and money, but left him with nothing but memories.

Lebese, who played for Kaizer Chiefs from 1993 until 2000, admitted he was initially not keen on being a ‘Glamour Boy’.

“I started at amateur club Orlando Wanderers and then I played for Orlando Hotspurs; this was a big team in Orlando. I was 15 at the time,” he reminisced.

The Soweto-born lad was spotted by Doctor Khumalo’s late father, Eliakim, who persuaded the teenager to join Chiefs. Initially, Lebese turned down the opportunity because of his affiliation to Chiefs’ archrivals Orlando Pirates, but relented a couple of weeks later and became a ‘Chief’.

“Pro said I must come play for him with Chiefs’ juniors and I said no and I told him, ‘I don’t like your team’ … I was a Pirates fan! But after two weeks I changed my mind and I went there. I only played two games with the reserve side and then I was promoted to the first team. I made my debut in 1993 against the same Pirates I grew up supporting,” he said.

Seven years later in 2000, Lebese grew disillusioned with life on the bench at Chiefs under Muhsin Ertugral and opted out – a decision he regretted until his death, by his own admission.

“I had been there for close to 10 years and leaving Chiefs was a big mistake… [But] I didn’t want to go to a bank ATM just to withdraw the money every month, so I just said ‘Bra K nna ke batla go spana [I want to work] for my money,” he said.

True to his word, one of South Africa’s best ever midfielders was a hit at the now defunct Ria Stars and Pirates, his childhood favourite club, came calling.

“I joined Pirates without a contract and there was also no signing-on-fee, but I got a R65 000 cheque from Irvin Khoza and he said it was to welcome me to the team. We just had a verbal contract. I didn’t mind, because I loved Pirates and I trusted the chairman very much. I only got the contract after a few months, but Pirates were able to register me with the League because I signed the PSL registration form,” Lebese revealed.

“Irvin was a busy guy and I didn’t want to put pressure… In the end things worked out for me at Pirates. I mean I was at Chiefs for 10 years and I never won a championship, but I played for Pirates for two seasons and I was a PSL champion,” he asserted, reflecting on Pirates’ 2000/01 League triumph under Gordon Igesund.

However, Lebese was on the move soon after Bucs roped in Roy Barreto, who arrived in tow with players from his former team Free State Stars such as Goodman Mazibuko and Hleza Mofedi.

Lebese packed up and left, but he lived to regret the decision … again!

“Barreto would have two sets of players; some training with him and some far away from him. I was part of those who were training far away and I just couldn’t take that anymore. So I left to join Silver Stars and from there my career just went downhill and I lost everything,” he said.

“After a season at Stars I went to Moroka Swallows, where problems off the field continued to affect me… I came from a poor family and I wanted to buy nice cars and clothes so people could see me but I lost everything. I also see this happen with the players these days and my advice to them is they must plan properly,” Lebese added.

THABANG LEBESE FACT FILEFull name: Thabang Johnny Lebese Born:24/8/73 in Orlando, Soweto Original clubs: Orlando Wanderers, Orlando Hotspurs (both amateur) Source: Kaizer Chiefs juniors. Debut: Orlando Pirates 0 Kaizer Chiefs 0 (28/8/93). First goal scored: Kaizer Chiefs 2 Orlando Pirates 3 (25/9/93). International debut: Namibia 3 South Africa 2 (25/1/98,Cosafa Castle Cup). Honours: 1 full international cap, 1 Under-23 cap; 2000/01 PSL champion; 2000 Bob Save Super Bowl winner; 1997, 1998 Rothmans Cup winner Career record:Year Club Games Goals93-00 Kaizer Chiefs 220 (+ 20 subs) 74 00/01 Ria Stars 28 (+ 1 sub) 8 Orlando Pirates 8 1 01/02 Orlando Pirates 13 (+ 17 subs) 3 02/03 Orlando Pirates 1 (+3 subs) 0 03/04 Silver Stars 3 (+ 6 subs) 0 Moroka Swallows 1 (+ 5 subs) 0 04/05 Black Leopards 5 (+ 5 subs) 0 05/06 Dynamos (1 sub only) 0Totals 279 86Correct as at 23/2/2012. League and cup matches only. Charity matches and friendlies not included.

Follow me on Twitter @TTM16

Article by: Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Previous comments on this story...

mavee@
posted: 08:49 am
and people say pirates does not pay when the guy was given 65K just to welcome him to pirates....and that was in the year 2001...waal...

wait a minute let me copy and paste something awesome from this article.

RIP my man, forever miss your talent.

I played at Chiefs for 10 years and never won a championship, but I played for Pirates for two seasons and I was a PSL champion,”
mavee@
posted: 08:50 am
and people say pirates does not pay when the guy was given 65K just to welcome him to pirates....and that was in the year 2001...waal...

wait a minute let me copy and paste something awesome from this article.

I played at Chiefs for 10 years and never won a championship, but I played for Pirates for two seasons and I was a PSL champion,”


RIP my man, forever miss your talent.
Mesh - K 4 L
posted: 08:53 am
RIP Thabang.

does it matter now TTM?May his soul rest in peace!!!!!!!!!!
Champ-Marapo
posted: 08:57 am
"..I mean I was at Chiefs for 10 years and I never won a championship, but I played for Pirates for two seasons and I was a PSL champion,” he asserted,

I like this...
Anonymous
posted: 09:03 am
“I joined Pirates without a contract ""heheheheh

players union should act now,coz i wouldn't be suprised if half of '
perete players not having contracts,lekgwathi aka okapi comes in mind
Muporo
posted: 09:05 am
back then, it was not easy to play for bafana bafana. i mean banda lebese was an influential player, yet he only managed one cap for SA. these days very tom, dick and harry can play for bafana. clueless pitso. anyway R.I.P. Banda Lebese i certainly miss your celebrations after scoring a goal.
Zosha
posted: 12:11 pm
"I mean I was at Chiefs for 10 years and I never won a championship, but I played for Pirates for two seasons and I was a PSL champion,”
RIP Chillies.
Anonymous
posted: 12:48 pm
RIP LEBESE....SOCCER PLAYERS DO NOT INVEST THEIR CASH AND THEY WANT TO LIVE EXPENSIVE LIFE IMPRESSING ABO CHERRY....LEBESE DIED WITH NOTHING WHEREAS THEY GET PAID BIG CASH
kingbucs
posted: 12:49 pm
i quote lebese in his own words "I played at Chiefs for 10 years and never won a championship, but I played for Pirates for two seasons and I was a PSL champion,”.unquote

REST IN PEACE CHILLIES once a champion always a pirates
Anonymous
posted: 01:06 pm
RIP Banda, I hope up n coming youngsters have learned a thing or two from u
'Khosi by Nature
posted: 09:09 pm
We all make mistakes & just b'cos we not exposed to media we come here and judge this guy... as we busy blogging here 'bout Thabang we sitting on top of our own nasty mistakes but still have a nerve to say 'He cud have,shud have'... FACT remains we all have mistakes and weaknesses !

Rest in Peace Thabang ! You ran your race & only God can judge you.
Me as a 'Khosi supporter I can just appreciate the entertainment you offered in your hey days with the combination of Thabo Mooki.

Thabo Thiba Thabang (TTT)... Condolences to his family & close friends.
sentsho
posted: 07:01 am
Great sympathy to Lebese family we all miss Banda and may his soul rest in peace.God bless Lebese family..
Observant
posted: 11:15 am
Chielies never got a signing on fee, the Iron Duke game him R65K cheque, and avoided the entire payment. Mmm, and we wonder why the man died poor.

I cannot believe that Dr Khoza, the man I respect so much would exploit a young man just because Chillies loved Pirates, if anything, Dr Khoza should given him a proper fee, even if it were at a later stage for trusting him.
Khosi-faithful
posted: 08:10 am
Does it matter now??

Rest in peace broe, you left Chiefs at your own peril, you won One championship and would have had to wait another 10 years to win it again. . .it's not exactly Chiefs or the Bra-K's fault that you ended up with nothing. . .

Rest in Peace anyhow!

Kick-off "you should really be considerate of which articles you post and at what times, this is no time for a Chiefs vs Pirates SAGA, this is a time for mourning,appreciation and recognition of this legend"

Eat a D if you got a problem with my comment!
Anonymous
posted: 07:23 am
lebese admittyed his mistake too late but is a good message to people with and not only players. You learn from your mistake and showoff.
Terms of use:

The comments posted do not reflect the views of KickOff.com. Users are reminded that no misuse of this comment facility will be tolerated. Any abusive, racist, inflammatory, defamatory, discriminatory comments or hate speech will be deleted and the user banned.

If legally obliged we will hand over your information under the Protection of Information Act.

Please report abusive posts to editor@kickoff.com.