Throwback Thursday: Lebogang Kukame
Posted: 25 January 2018 Time: 12:00
Former Bloemfontein Celtic striker Lebogang Kukame’s career was derailed by a car crash, but he was able to venture into other avenues to make a living.
Kukame was 31 when the accident happened in 2009, after which coaches doubted he could still do the job at a high level.
"After the accident the doctor told me that I couldn't play football anymore because I had broken my leg. I spent about a year doing rehab and stuff like that and Maritzburg United released me,” Kukame tells KickOff.com.
"When I recovered I went to play for Roses United in the ABC Motsepe League and after that I tried my luck at [Moroka] Swallows and at Vasco da Gama. But the coaches had their doubts about my situation, so that's when I decided to venture into new things, though I'm still playing in the Masters League."
Kukame had two spells at Celtic and also played for the likes of Jomo Cosmos, Manning Rangers, SuperSport United and Santos in the topflight.
These days the former attacker is involved in property development together with his father, but he is also a youth coach. He holds a CAF B coaching licence.
"I acquired it in 2012. I'm a development coach. There's a primary school which I am coaching here in Germiston and again I'm still under Professionals Management. I am part of the McDonald's Coach the Coaches in the Under-14 league through SASFA [South African Schools Football Association].
"I am also involved in property. My father and I are partners in a property business that we are trying to develop, so those are the kind of things that I'm doing to put food on the table. I also have my own foundation which is called the Lebogang Kukame Foundation. We try to encourage sports and education with the way of promoting economic empowerment."
Kukame, who is blessed with two daughters and currently drives around in a Honda Civic, says the most he earned as a footballer was R29 000.
It's not much compared to what players earn these days, but he would still have preferred to play back then instead of now.
"My first salary as a professional player was a mere R1000 at Bloemfontein Celtic and the most I earned was R29 000. I think there was a reason why we played back then. The majority of us loved football and we had passion for football as we could play even though we were not getting enough money.
"It might have been different though if I was playing today as I would be more concerned about the money instead of the performance. It could also have been nice to play today because of the way football has evolved and because the money is plenty, but God knew what he was doing."