Semenya: Age is just a number
Posted: 1 June 2017 Time: 09:25
Veteran defender Thabiso Semenya believes the remarkable campaign he had with Polokwane City is testament to just how far footballers can take their careers in the modern game.
Semenya was one of only two players in the PSL – along with Mthokozisi Dube of Bloemfontein Celtic – to play in every minute of all 30 Absa Premiership games during the recently concluded league season.
This is a man who only made his PSL debut on October 15, 2011 in the colours of Platinum Stars, against Santos, having already turned 29 at the time, and he is now set to celebrate his 35th birthday in September.
“I believe that age shouldn’t overshadow performances when looking at a player. Age ain’t nothing but a number,” Semenya tells KickOff.com.
“I may be 34 now and going towards 35 yet I perform better than players 10 years my junior. So should my work ethic be ignored because of my age? We need to stop this mentality of just judging based on age because players are different.
“Some people are actually surprised about my age and I keep saying what matters is how you perform. I know the tendency is that most people are quick to judge based on age, forgetting that it is not your age that plays the game. I hope I can become a good example about this age issue,” he says.
Yet, even more shocking for Semenya was the fact that in March last year, he survived a car accident that tragically took the life of his wife.
Semenya was the driver but was still able to continue his playing career, leaving Platinum Stars two months later at the end of the 2015/16 season when his contract expired before going on to put in one of the most comprehensive shifts in PSL league football with Polokwane.
“I never actually imagined that I would achieve this until it actually happened,” he says of featuring in all of the 30 league games.
“I remember I jokingly predicted to one friend of mine that I will play 30 games this season.
“However, it was with about 10 games to play that I then realised that I was on three yellow cards which immediately meant my plan was to then avoid getting another yellow card which would have then led to me getting suspended. I was hoping and believing that this can be done from there onwards and it happened.
“With the yellow cards, I also made sure when assessing my games I seriously look into why I got the cards because the truth is that some of the cards are for silly reasons which can be avoided. I also avoided injuries because, in a contact sport like football, injuries are never within your control,” explains Semenya.