Nhlapo explains return from retirement


Last June a disgruntled Nhlapo announced he was quitting the game after the sale and subsequent relocation of the Mpumalanga Black Aces franchise, which he had been apart of since 2012.

However, a few months into the new year, the 36-year-old has since dusted off his gloves and found his way back to his former club Spurs, who are currently playing in the First Division.

The diminutive shotstopper was part of the Spurs side that went down 1-0 to Chippa United in their Nedbank Cup Last 32 clash a fortnight ago, and explains what convinced his return to football.

“This was all down to the love of the game and the fact that I couldn’t ignore and keep turning down someone who was interested in my services like Mafu,” Nhlapo explains to KickOff.com.

“Mafu asked me to come back despite the fact that, at that time, I was feeling heavy as I had already started coaching a SAB League team – Valentino, whom I left after I had a disagreement with the owner.

"What happened is that during the festive break I played in the Philly’s Games, since this is a tournament played where I come from in Tembisa. It turned out that someone spotted me in action and told Mafu that I can still get the job done.

“So in the new year Mafu approached me to come back and help the team. I was a bit hesitant since it would mean I have to train very hard as my body was feeling a bit heavy.

"However, I realised I actually still want to play and this is a team close enough to home so I packed and came here as it was vital for me that I don’t go too far away from home, due to family and business reasons.

"It was for that reason that I turned down offers from Cape Town All Stars and Royal Eagles earlier on in the season. Now from the seven games played so far this year, I have played four, having missed the first three of the new year.

"It has been great because I kept my first clean sheet against AmaZulu in the last game. Right now I feel I can go on until 40,” says Nhlapo, who turns 37 on April 9.

He also shared light on his business interests in the taxi industry where he owns a couple of vehicles that transport people along with school kids in Tembisa.

“The taxi industry that I am involved in is hanging in suspense at the moment because of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit System) that is being introduced in Tembisa. For now we are waiting to see what the way forward is going to be,” he notes.