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Throwback Thursday: Humphrey Mlwane

Posted: 2 November 2017 Time: 13:00

When Humphrey Mlwane hears about some of the salaries players are getting these days, the former Moroka Swallows and Kaizer Chiefs defender wishes he was playing now.

While some of the PSL's top stars reportedly earn around R500 000 a month, the highest 'Cellular' ever got during his playing days was R10 000.

These days Mlwane operates as a head coach for Moretele Gunners, which campaigns in the North West's ABC Motsepe League.

Unlike coaches who earn big money in the PSL, working in the third tier means the chances of getting a fat pay cheque at the end of the month are slim.

However, Mlwane, who says he holds a CAF A licence, acknowledges there has been an improvement.

"Ja, definitely it's better than in the last four years because now I'm able to send my kids to these private schools," he tells KickOff.com.

"I can support myself and my family, I don't have any problems. The money I get is better than the one I used to get four years ago, because when I started in 2003 I coached in Castle where you would just be paid something like R4 000 as a coach.

"I can say what I get paid presently is better than the R10 000 I got while I was still playing in the PSL."

Mlwane adds: "With the kind of money which today's players earn, maybe I might be a millionaire.

"It was very difficult as you had to start by taking care of your parents, siblings, extended family... you could not save any money."

Mlwane says a person who played a huge role in him leaving the Dube Birds for Amakhosi was the club's legend Wellington 'Umuntu Akalahlwa' Manyathi.

"It was during off-season. Swallows was playing against Chiefs in Venda and I was not playing but I travelled with the team to Venda. As I was sitting in the grand stands, I was approached by Chiefs assistant coach Wellington Manyathi. He told me that Kaizer [Motaung] wants me to come and play for Chiefs. I never thought that he was serious because I did not give an answer.

"After a week I read a newspaper stating that Chiefs were looking into signing me, and that's when I saw that they were serious. When the season was about to start in 1997/1998 Swallows sold me to Chiefs."

Weighing in on his former clubs, Mlwane says it will take time for Chiefs to get back to its glory days as they are still in a rebuilding phase and blames Swallows’ demise to poor management.

"It's just that the playing fields are level now, most of these other teams can afford now to sign expensive players. Chiefs is in a rebuilding process and it might take some time, [but] there is a difference this season in terms of play. There is a lot of energy, passion and willingness from the players.

"As for Swallows I feel very bad. Poor management caused the team to be where it is today. I saw that they are campaigning in the ABC Motsepe League under Gauteng region. With good management and proper structure they can fight back to where Swallows belongs."

Mlwane says in 2005 a knee injury forced him out of the game because of a lack of proper medical care.

"In 2005 I was playing in the Mvela League [now National First Division) with Winners Park in Limpopo. I got a terrible knee injury and that was the end of me as I could not get a proper medical care. I was 32 at the time."

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Article by: Sipho Mlotha
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