Why ex-Celtic star never joined big three


One of Bloemfontein Celtic's most talented players from the 1990s catches up with KickOff.com in this week's Throwback Thursday.

Bloemfontein-born Vasili Sofiadellis made his PSL debut in 1995 and says he loved playing football from a young age, and reveals how he signed for Celtic.

"The late Mr Petrus Molemela arguably had the greatest impact in my professional career," the former midfielder tells KickOff.com.

"He invited me to trial at Bloemfontein Celtic at age 18 and signed me within the first week. I have to say that it was the love of the game and playing for the jersey that allowed me excel.

"I enjoyed playing at every team but Bloemfontein Celtic is most certainly my favourite. This was also my favourite childhood team, in my home town and it has the most incredible supporters!

"Nothing beats putting on a Bloemfontein Celtic jersey."

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Despite his unbelievable talent, Sofiadellis never played for any of the big three of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando or Mamelodi Sundowns like most of the great talents in those days. He explains why.

"I was approached by a couple of the big teams but I was studying at university, which was my priority at that time. It is only when I was approached to go overseas that I decided to do my studies part-time.

"When I had returned to South Africa, I again focused on my studies. Bloemfontein was great in that I could combine training twice a day with attending my lectures and studying."

The former South Africa under-23 international, who names the legendary Lucas Radebe as his all-time favourite player, says the most he earned was at AmaZulu in 1999.

"It was a really good salary [at Usuthu] but the good signing-on fee was what made this deal stand out."

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Now based in Lesvos, Greece, Sofiadellis says not believing in his football ability is the reason he could not play for Bafana Bafana, which is a lesson that is helping him pursue his purpose at the moment.

"I briefly retired at age 31 in 2008 while on trial at Santos. The main reason is because of the circumstances at the time. I was not confident in my ability to represent the South African national team.

"Therefore I decided to rather pursue my professional career as a chartered accountant, I had to complete my articles. I had subsequently joined Vasco Da Gama but could not do my articles and play soccer at the same time."

These days to provide for his family Sofiadellis works as a CEO for Vision2Ventures.

"I'm a qualified chartered accountant. I'm currently the CEO of Vision2Ventures and also the founder of Changemakers Lab (CML).

"Through CML, I'm working on changing the correct perception, fears that people have about refugees here in Greece, and across Europe, using this as an opportunity to embrace and accelerate new technologies."

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How is his lifestyle now compared to the one he lived as a famous footballer?

"Life as a football player is incredible, but it always appears better than what it is. The work that I'm currently doing requires a lot of international trips and a lot of hard work.

"It may appear like an amazing lifestyle but it's extremely challenging. Make no mistake, I would love to be back on the pitch wearing a masokolara jersey."

Previous Throwback Thursdays

READ: Khanye remembers Skapie, Nkambule, Jabu

READ: Molatedi admits: I cheated on purpose

READ: Throwback Thursday: Rene Richards

READ: 'Dishonest' Jomo led Makua to Chiefs

READ: Throwback Thursday: Joseph Makhanya

READ: Itshegetseng: I'm now driving a taxi

READ: Throwback Thursday: Bernard Lushozi