Nomvethe announced earlier today at a press conference held by his club AmaZulu that he will be retiring at the end of the season and looks set to go into coaching.
Zuma and Nomvethe started their professional careers at African Wanderers in the 1990s, before they went to Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs respectively. They spent a lot of time together playing for Bafana Bafana, including at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, and they both had good careers in Europe.
“Eish, I don’t where to start. He is like my young brother. Our careers started at the same time, at the same club,” Zuma tells KickOff.com.
“The way he was raised in terms of training and understanding the game was almost the same. He loved the game and he was willing to sacrifice. You can’t say you love football and you don’t want to train. He represented South Africa very well, he played in Italy and Sweden and in different clubs. I am really proud of what he has done, especially for Bafana Bafana.
“People don’t know that when we lost a game he was always crushed, so immediately after the game you have to motivate him and tell him that sometimes you lose a game. He took football very seriously.”
Zuma says Nomvethe is one of the funniest guys he knows and misses the times they shared when they were in camp with the national team.
“Those are the times I miss in football, where we mess around and joke together. People don’t know that 'Bhele' is one of the funniest guys. Some of the stories he used to tell were very funny. We used to laugh all the time, so I miss those times. But it’s life and we grow up.”
Zuma adds: “He is a legend and for me he needs to be honoured somehow. He did well for Kaizer Chiefs and he was amazing for Bafana Bafana. I am sure in Durban they are going to honour his career as well. I am just wishing him the best.”