Throwback Thursday: Ivan Zwane

Ivan called time on his career in 2010 while on the books of National First Division side United FC at the age of 30, after a knee operation limited his mobility.

He started out at Moroka Swallows before moving on to play for Dynamos, Platinum Stars and Usuthu.

"Swallows spotted me in school tournaments," Ivan tells

"The likes of Swallows and Chiefs used to play against Soweto schools those days, it was the days of David Chabeli. You know Chabeli didn't want to pay for a player so he liked signing schoolboys.

"But at AmaZulu it's where I enjoyed my football, and also at Dynamos. I had too much freedom there, there were no restrictions. Coaches were not tactical at Dynamos so we wouldn't waste time planning for an opponent, bebalandwa straight nje abantu [we'd just go straight for them].

"Money wasn't there in our days, I retired towards the 2010 World Cup, that's when salaries started to improve in South African football. But still it depended on which team you were playing for because at Dynamos there was no money as owners had their own problems. An owner would tell you that 'I'm paying you from my own pocket'. So those were the challenges we were faced with. When you signed a contract you didn't sign with the club but with him."

These days if the 37-year-old is not busy with the construction company he started with Arthur, he travels the country scouting talent he can recommend to PSL and NFD teams.

"As we speak I'm in Natal looking for players as you know that there were SAB play-offs. If we spot a talented player we take him to people who can help them, it's something that me and my friends have started for ourselves. There are people who financially support us by sponsoring us. And another thing, we find teams for these players. One of our guys is from Pietermaritzburg and he is the one who spotted Wiseman Meyiwa from U-14 and I sent him to Arthur.

"When I come across a talent ngicabangela ejalidini [I think of home] which is Chiefs, but now we are starting to think of other teams like Highlands Park and even for some Cape Town teams."

Ivan says life comes with its challenges when one's playing days end.

"Though it's not the same but I can say my life is starting to improve now because I have another construction company with my brother Arthur. But it's much better because sometimes after retiring one looks like he has been hit by a train or he has just been released from prison. Nothing comes together in your life after retirement, it takes time to adapt. It's so painful seeing some ex-players failing even to buy themselves amateki [takkies], it's not nice.

"When you are still playing every thing comes easy, you can travel from Joburg to Durban without paying. But now when you go to Durban you have to pay because people no longer recognise you. It's sad seeing some ex-players not even affording to buy themselves clothes."

Ivan, who is currently based in Johannesburg, says the only thing he regrets in his football career is being short tempered.

"If I'm not treated well I pack my bags and leave. When I left AmaZulu I didn't leave in a right way, I was hurt by someone who was an employee just like me, like this guy Lawrence Ngubane."

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