Throwback Thursday: Mulondo Sikhwivhilu
Posted: 7 December 2017 Time: 13:00
Former Black Leopards striker Mulondo Sikhwivhilu did not let his disadvantaged upbringing get in the way of his dreams.
He fought hard to become a professional footballer and worked even harder to play for a top club such as Orlando Pirates.
Now that he is retired, Sikhwivhilu has not changed. He is all about making his dreams come true.
These days the man who was known as 'Ronaldo' as a player is a businessman.
"These days I'm self-employed," he says.
"I went back to school after football and got my degree at Univen [University of Venda]. After finishing my studies I decided to work for myself. The name of my company is Golden Goal Environmental Consultant. Let’s say you want to open a petrol station, we come and check if what you are planning to do won't affect the environment. We come and inspect and do a report for you, and we take that report to the department so they can approve. Sometimes you find that where you want to do that thing there are some plants and animals species that doesn't need to be disturbed. So we check how you are going to affect the environment in a way. We basically do reports for people who are going to start their own businesses."
The Lidoda Duvha legend says there was money during his playing days, although it came late in his career.
"Money was there, but the thing is I played for Black Leopards for close to 12 years. So by then they were not one of the big teams even though they were campaigning in the PSL. So you were not getting that much of a salary. The first time I got a signing-on fee and good money is the time I went to Pirates and also when I came back to Leopards for the second time. That was around 2007, 2009 and 2010 when I was winding down my career. When I started there was no money but at the end there was money because I managed to build myself a house and also went back to school. At Pirates I earned R35 000 and that was around 2009, but before then it easy not much at Leopards. When I started at Black Leopards I was earning R800 in 1997."
Not earning much for most of his playing days made it difficult for the former Buccaneer to save money. So he decided to retire early so he could continue his studies to sustain himself in the future.
"As footballers I think the most important thing is to look beyond playing. I realised that I won't play forever. I retired at 32 and at 33 I went back to school. If I didn't stop playing I was going to regret not going back to school now. You are not going to play football forever.
"I retired when I was 32 playing for Bay United before Johnny Mogaladi bought it and renamed it Polokwane City FC. We lost in the play-offs against Jomo Cosmos and that's when I sat down and looked at my age and thought about my future.
"I retired early but it was well calculated because if you don't retire early you will end up not having anything to fall back on. Remember when I went to Black Leopards I was 17, then I played football from 17 years until I was 32. So there was not even a single season where I was out injured. So playing 15 years was great."