Throwback Thursday: Phiri Tsotetsi

Posted: 28 June 2018 Time: 18:00

Former Orlando Pirates wingback Phiri Tsotetsi says the club's chairman Irvin Khoza offered him 10 times as much as he was earning at Moroka Swallows to lure him to Bucs.

Tsotetsi also turned out for AmaZulu before an ankle injury ended a relatively short playing career 18 years ago.

He now lives in Vanderbijlpark and runs a decor business with his wife.

"I retired in 2000, my right ankle broke," Tsotetsi tells KickOff.com.

"We were playing against Mamelodi Sundowns then Bennett Mnguni tackled me from behind."

He goes on to explain his decision to swap Swallows for Soweto rivals Pirates.

"Mr Khoza was watching one of our games against them. Bengivutha that day and then he approached me. He asked if I don't want to play for Pirates and asked how much I'm getting per month. I told him R600 and he said, 'Okay I will give you R6000 per month, come and play for Pirates'.

"I enjoyed my football at Pirates to be honest, even though Swallows are the ones who put me on the map. But I played most of my football at Pirates. I ended up getting R8000 per month there. But I never got more than that. Bengizwa ngendaba ukuthi there are people who were getting boma R12000 or R14000. I would ask myself kanti laba bantu abanjani abahola imali engaka while some of us only get R8000."

Tsotetsi grew frustrated at Mayfair when he was transfer-listed and with help from Sea Robbers legend Gavin Lane managed to organise a move to Usuthu

"I moved to AmaZulu because I was frustrated that Pirates had put me on transfer. Gavin Lane is the one who organised that move for me. I told AmaZulu to pay me the same money I was getting at Pirates. I got stuck on that R8000 until I retired. In that R8000 I had to pay for my car and furniture accounts. The only thing I didn't have was a house because Pirates spoiled us by giving us free accommodation, basival'ingqondo ngako lokho. But I have my own place now."

Tsotetsi says he has no regrets from his playing days.

"I regret nothing in football except growing up because these days there are opportunities in football that can easily turn someone into a millionaire. For instance if you compare R8000 and R200000 per month ... Yesses! Getting paid R200 00 in a year you can do a lot of things. Via signing-on fees some of these boys gets up to R400 000 a month. But they deserve it, what can I say? Because times have changed. But I believe we played better football than them."

After hanging up his boots, Tsotetsi had a lengthy working stint at a mine before going into business for himself.

"After football I ended up working at New Vaal Colliery opencast mine. I worked there for about 10 years. I left after me and my wife started a decor business. We are decorating weddings and parties even now. But in this business it depends on how many clients do you have. Sometimes like now in winter the business is quiet because most people don't do weddings and parties because it's cold. But in summer, yes we work. So far decor beats all the other jobs I have done in my life when it comes to income.

"Football is number last when it comes to income on my side. In the mine it was better because I was getting R15000 and at the same time we had medical aids, funeral policies. I started as an operator there driving these big trucks called haul truck. I drove that truck for a year, and then I was promoted to another machine. From there they made me a supervisor, from supervisor I became an acting foreman. I acted up until I decided to quit because the decor business was taking most of my time. Sometimes I would not go to work. To avoid a bad record and being fired I decided to leave in 2016."

Tsotetsi is happily married to Bonnie.

"I'm married, but unfortunately I don't have a child, I only have a wife. My wife's name is Bonnie and she is very beautiful. I must say I love her so much and she loves me so much. We did a western wedding. We are based in Vaal, in a town called Vanderbijlpark."

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Article by: Sipho Mlotha

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