A former PSL golden boot contender has revealed his heartbreak after a dream move to Orlando Pirates failed on two occasions in the last 10 years.
In 2010 while at Baroka and in 2016 at Polokwane City, Thobani Mncwango nearly joined Pirates.
But a move to the Soweto giants was not on the cards for the former Rise and Shine striker, who finished as the second-top scorer in the Absa Premiership in the 2015/16 season with 13 goals‚ one behind Collins Mbesuma.
"I try by all means to forget about something that hurt me, try to turn negative stuff into positive," Mncwango opens up to KickOff.com.
"Even during that time I just told myself that it means my time to play for Pirates has not arrived. If you can take it back to 2010 when I was still playing for Baroka, when we had a good run in the Nedbank Cup, I was supposed to sign with Pirates even that time.
"I had a meeting with the chairman of Orlando Pirates [Irvin Khoza], it was only the two of us in that meeting. When I was about to sign stuff happened but I took all that in a positive way and told myself my time has not arrived.
"In 2016 what happened between Pirates and Polokwane City happened and I ended up not going. I told myself my time to go to Pirates will come, I just need to continue working hard. I put that behind me and took only the positives from that situation. I told myself that if I'm attracting other teams it means I'm doing well.
"Obviously I was not happy... it's everyone's dream to play for teams like Pirates, to find yourself playing a Derby one day. It's something you dream about from your amateur days. But if it was not meant to be, it's not meant to be, life must go on. So I took it the right way.
"Even though we didn't go into too much details, what I know and what the chairman [Johnny Mogaladi] told me is that he still needed me in the team, to help the team, continue with the team, the team gave me an opportunity to play in the PSL, so even the way I was doing then they still needed me.
"And I think it was fair for him because it's not easy to lose someone you've put your hopes on... I understood his point. Although we didn't agree with certain things, I took it like a man."
Mncwango recently made a move to another Limpopo side in Black Leopards, penning a one-year deal, and explains how not being given proper game time for two seasons at his previous clubs made him feel.
"Even though I have no full reasons on what was the cause of that, I was not the only one if you can look closely. There were a lot of players who were in a similar situation, even though in some instances I felt like I deserved playing but... I can say the coach didn't want me or what.
"I think my time hadn't arrived because if I can go back to my days at Polokwane City, I spent almost two seasons not playing full-time but that didn't mean I'm a bad player or I'm not performing in training. I was taught patience from an early age at home, to be patient while working hard so that by the time your chance come, it finds you ready.
"You know what I did at Polokwane City when my chance came, I even became the second-top goalscorer in the second round [in 2016]. I started playing full-time at Polokwane City when Kosta Papic left, I started playing in November and you know what happened after that, I scored 13 goals in that six months that was remaining.
"If I can go back to Wits I can say maybe it was not my time yet. The last game I played for Wits was in Nigeria, and the first thing coach Gavin Hunt said in the change-room was, 'Guys you played well but Thobani since you arrived at Wits, this is your first game, you played the way I want and the way I know you.' But the next game which was against my former team Polokwane City I was not included in the eighteen. I was left surprised by that decision. I think the past two seasons were not right for me, for my family and people close to me in Natal, in my home town of KwaNongoma.
"It depends on which striker the coach prefers. Obviously no player is happy when he is not playing, but that is what makes me grow as a player. The only thing I need to prove now is to show people that I'm still the same Thobani Mncwango they know.
"I think here at Leopards everyone was impressed with me from the first day I trained with them. I just need match-fitness then after three games or so everyone will see. I won't set a target of how many goals I'm planning to score but what I want at the moment is to help the team, as long as every goal I score helps the team. I know that's my duty."