Throwback Thursday: Lucas Sebona
Posted: 12 October 2017 Time: 12:15
On Thursdays, KickOff.com will bring you the stories of retired footballers who are trying to make a living after hanging up their boots.
Some are doing well for themselves, but others are struggling because they did not save money the way they should have. We start with former Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns winger Lucas Sebona, who has a restaurant and a pub with his business partner.
Sebona is a name most die-hard Swallows supporters will never forget.
The Middelburg-born player arrived at the Dube Birds in 1996 without a signing-on fee and got paid R500 a month at the time.
'Makhokhoba' loved Swallows but in 2004/05 a move he was not keen on went through when he joined big-spending Sundowns.
Sebona's world was turned over on the eve of the 2004/05 transfer deadline when his agent informed him that he would be making a move to Chloorkop to join the Brazilians.
"There was nothing fascinating [about the move to Sundowns]. I was sold out because I also found myself at Sundowns, that's all I can say," Sebona tells KickOff.com.
"My agent told me ‘Sundowns have bought you’. I never sat down with Swallows, which is something I was never happy about as their longest serving player at the time. That's where I started to realise that there are no guarantees in football.
"I contacted them [Swallows management], but someone said to me 'If that's the case you better leave because it shows that they can no longer afford you, or they have a problem with you’. The deal was finalised on the eve of the transfer window deadline. I was only informed in the last minute. I had only two hours to decide and on that day I was preparing to go to Swallows training as usual, but I was told to go to Chloorkop to negotiate my contract."
These days the 44-year-old Swallows legend runs a couple of businesses in his hometown of Middelburg and in neighbouring Witbank.
"I've got a partner. We are running a restaurant and pub in Witbank called 21 Café. It’s named after the street address the business is situated in. At the restaurant we are selling everything from food to beers and we are planning to expand it. Some time next year there will be a site that will be serving strictly food as a restaurant, and then there will be another site that will operate as a pub. We've just bought a property next door so we can expand.
"I have a partner Simon Setswalo who is an attorney from Mahube Setswalo Attorneys. Our partnership has been going on for more than four years. Yes, money is there but our vision is bigger than that. We want it to be one of the top class restaurants and pubs in Witbank because we were in China recently to buy new stuff. For instance we will be having coffee making machines this time. Soon there's going to be a change because we have kotas [bunny chows] that comes in different styles."
Currently married with five children, Makhokhoba saved for rainy days while he was still playing. That money, he says, set him up for the life he is living at the moment.
"I saved money in a way of buying properties. I also bought mobile toilets, so that there'll be money coming in. That is my core business actually. I'm renting out tents and mobile toilets, any toilet you can think of. I think in December I will go back to China again so I can introduce disabled [people] toilets and VIP toilets. For now I'm not depending on anyone, I'm happy where I am [in life]."