Leering confident he can beat illness

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The 50-year-old, who helped make history by scoring a late penalty for Usuthu during their record-equalling 16-0 thrashing of Port Elizabeth’s Ford Pirates in the first round of the 1986 Mainstay Cup, says having the illness is a very humbling experience.

“In the place where I have my treatment, you talk to other cancer sufferers, you listen to their complaints and you think you are not so bad, but you’re bad. It just changes your outlook on life and you think ‘well, if they can do it, I can do it,’” he explains.

“Although I do try to think positively, the chemotherapy knocks you down. It is a killer, it takes your blood cells out and you can’t describe how you feel to anybody.”

Leering was on the books of Norman Elliott’s City side that clinched back-to-back NPSL titles under Clive Barker in 1982 and 1983 but later had a loan spell at AmaZulu together with Barry Barratt and Marco Minnietti.

And in 1986 when Barker moved from Bush Bucks to AmaZulu, the blonde-haired shot stopper followed him to join forces with the likes of Neil Tovey, Kevin Mudie and Archie Hadebe.

AmaZulu did well to finish third and fifth on the log in 1986 and 1987 respectively, but after a cup match against Moroka Swallows in which Leering conceded four goals, he decided to quit the game – after receiving threats from fans.

“They wanted to take me out, even though I’d played like a star in the first match which had ended in a goalless draw. Goalkeepers always get the blame, irrespective of how the rest of the team plays,” adds Leering, who later returned to his amateur roots at Durban Ramblers.

“I’m putting on weight which is a good sign. I have my moments when I want to give up, like now, but I think ‘no, I have too much to live for and I’ve got two boys to bring up.’ I’ll get through it.”

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