Throwback Thursday: Kenny Niemach
Posted: 9 November 2017 Time: 13:00
Former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns striker Kenny Niemach says he wears many hats since retiring from professional football.
A member of Chiefs' 'Operation Vat Alles' squad of 2001/02, he now works as a COO for Johannesburg-based IT company Yookoo Incorporated.
"I wear many hats at the moment," he tells KickOff.com. "I do a bit of freelance when it comes and I am full-time at Yokoo Ride Company, an e-hailing business that I have partnered with the [SA] Meter Taxi Association so they are able to compete on the market and the violence in the industry can stop."
Niemach, who started a nomadic career in Durban with D'Alberton Callies and also had a spell with Moroka Swallows, famously moved to Amakhosi in August 2001 within days of joining Manning Rangers from Sundowns.
'King Kenny' recounts the events that led to him linking up with the Soweto giants.
"I was supposed to go to Rangers as I'm from Durban, so I did, and then Chiefs showed an interest so I agreed and joined them two weeks later. Chiefs is a giant of South African football, they are always able to attract the best players and best brands. Other teams are now able to compete as well as new TV deals affords clubs the opportunity to buy good players and pay good salaries. Clubs never paid much those days, my last salary was 30k excluding bonuses."
He adds: "Playing back then was great for the sport and the fans. These days one has more international scope and more opportunity, so they should work harder to play abroad and bring that experience back to the national team."
Niemach says it was not easy for a local footballer to save in his era.
"You couldn't save money as it just wasn't enough. Even when you won a cup the prize money was 200k, it was absolutely hopeless. I retired at 32 years of age. I feel I could have gone on until 40, I have a natural fitness and a body that's very strong. Psychologically I was becoming tired, I needed something to ignite my passion again and even while the body could, the mind was exhausted."