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Throwback Thursday: Ace Gulwa

Posted: 1 February 2018 Time: 13:00

Former Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows midfielder Thiyekile ‘Ace’ Gulwa has gone from mesmerising opponents on the pitch to running a transport business.

Gulwa retired from playing football while still on the books of Roses United in 2011 at the age of 31 because of a troubling knee injury that made him lose interest in the game.

"I was losing interest and the injuries were also there, especially my knee," he says.

Gulwa has since ventured into the transport industry in his home town of Bloemfontein.

"I'm owning taxis and buses," he says.

"My life is still the same. The only thing is that now I sleep at the time that I want, going anywhere I want because no one will ask me questions."

The Celtic legend says he played his best football for Phunya Sele Sele.

"Celtic saw me when I was playing in the Free State provincial tournaments. Then I was selected for the national Under-23s at the age of 17. At Celtic that's where I made my name. I even got a call up for Bafana Bafana, and the late coach Bra Styles [Phumo] gave me a free role. He believed in me."

Good as he was, Gulwa never got a chance to play for any of South Africa's 'Big Three, something he says was caused by listening to the wrong people instead of following his heart.

"I think it's because of that wrong advice we sometimes listen to. At some point Paul Dolezar wanted to sign me when he was a coach at Chiefs, instead I renewed my contract at Celtic," Gulwa says.

Gulwa says the most he earned as a footballer was R25 000 at Arrows. He wishes he played football now because of the higher salaries.

"It was difficult because I was a breadwinner at home. My mom was not working. I had to look after my younger sister and brother," he says.

He refuses to draw comparisons between the Celtic team of his time and the current one.

"You can't compare because there's a lot of money today and they play for it. With us it was love and passion."

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Article by: Sipho Mlotha
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