Junaid Hartley has a thriving business

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Hartley may hanging up his boots

Posted: 23 August 2008 Time: 12:37

Talented midfielder Junaid Hartley says he is undecided about continuing with his football career after spending a lengthy spell on the sidelines following his financial troubles at Sarawak in Malaysia last year.

In a rare interview Hartley tells KickOff.com that he still has two offers to return to Asia, but is weighing his options as he already has a thriving property development business in Johannesburg.

“At the moment I remain unattached to any club but I have two offers to go back to Asia that I am still undecided about. The thing is I have a property development business that has taken off so well so much that it has made me think whether I really want to continue playing.

“So I don’t know if I should leave the business and go back to football. I have one week to decide and then get back to the Asian guys to let them know if I am taking the offer or not. My contract at my last club in Malaysia expired in February this year, so I am now a free agent though I left that club last year because of money problems,” says Hartley.

Though not involved with any club since he left Malaysia last year the 30 year-old still appreciates the value of what football did to his life.

“You have to understand that football has been good to me and I have started this business because of the game. But at the moment my heart is where I am making my living from, which is this business that I am running. I still know that I was never a bad player and nobody can take that away from me,” he says.

Struck by controversy throughout his career, Hartley broke through as a 16-year-old at Wits before moving to RC Lens in France then Vitoria Setubal in Portugal.

After then he returned home to play for Seven Stars, Orlando Pirates, Moroka Swallows, Ajax Cape Town, Jomo Cosmos and Maritzburg United.

In the past year he has trained with Thanda Royal Zulu, Supersport United and Platinum Stars with no luck. Nothing came of a planned move to FC AK either.

One factor that Hartley must take into consideration if he decides to take up an offer in Malaysia is a reported decision by Malaysia not to allow any foreigners to ply their trade in the domestic league from next season. This is in a drastic attempt to improve the quality of their young homegrown players.

Veteran Namibian midfielder Robert Nauseb has already become one of the first victims of the Malaysian ban on foreign players.

Previous comments on this story...

posted: 01:47 pm
this was one of the most gifted ball players that SA has ever produced but never fulfilled his potential...
good luck with whichever decision u make, Junaid.
posted: 01:52 pm
Wow thats so impressive to know he started a business while still playing. I believe every soccer player have got God given talent but most fail to make use of the brain cells. Thats actually great idea now he knows should things don't go his way do have something to fall back on! Bigg up broer! What happened to Zane Moosa by the way?
posted: 02:09 pm
But at the moment my heart is where I am making my living from, which is this business that I am running

The guy has actually made his mind looking at the quote above. I hope this is not a publicity stunt to reattract the local teams for an offer. I mean in your rightful mind can you leave a very potential business to go and warm benches in a foreign country?
posted: 02:55 pm
Martin, i guess u were never a footballer and if u were, u were probably a very bad one!! U seem to be bitter.. Why my friend??

Junaid has played in Europe, he has represented his country at all levels and i mean all levels! He has made enough money to live a comfortable life and even start a financially sound business so why dont u give him a call if u looking for a job...Coz u have enough time on your hands to comment on articles....

posted: 04:41 pm
This guy was super talented, but just like any other "star" SA players like Jabu, Scara, Khanye, Scapie, never got any where with his career. This is just proof that no matter how good you are, if you are mentally poor, you wont make it in life.
posted: 05:37 pm
@ Lester.

I'm not bitter my man. I am saying it how I see it. Junaid has been a good footballer, yes nobody can take that away from him but Y couldn't he make it in all these SA teams he trained with after returning to Mzansi?
posted: 04:06 pm
south africa u people shold call this guy back in to ur team because u don't have players again the players u have now are mumu mumu thay are felk only 2 among them are good other's are playing like preginant wemen thay are not good at all so u peole shold look well ok by dodo nwa oma a nigerian live's in greece
posted: 07:13 pm
To answer u Martin..If you are a player that voices your opinion in SA football u are immediately victimised..The likes of Jabu Mendu comes to mind..These players ability on the field was never questioned yet, coaches and club bosses that are not secure in their jobs feel that these players will expose thier inferior knowledge of the game therefore not signing them..

Another reason for not finding teams are they will not be paid peanuts! and be treated like slaves because as long as the coach has a nice fat contract he looks for cheap inexperienced players..and club bosses only seek self-wealth(not all of them though)..

I didnt mean to come down on u Martin..just voicing my opinion
posted: 02:50 pm
By the best South African player i've ever seen by far. only Steven Pienaar was in his league. for me, not even the great Dr Khumalo wasn't as talented as Junaid. it's a tragedy that the boy never reached half his potential, never mind full. Junaid was the most naturally gifted footballer to emerge from the great Wits Academy. how he messed it all up is something that he will to the grave with. but i stil can't shake off the feeling of wanting to know as to "What went Wrong Junaid"? it is a sad story indeed.

Good luck in your new veture though, hope you don't mess it up.
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