Forgotten attacking midfielder Erwin ‘Appels’ Isaacs says he regrets staying at Santos for way too long and missing out on an opportunity to move to Kaizer Chiefs in his prime.
Isaacs – now a father of six kids – is playing amateur football in Cape Town earning R2000 a month after his job as a general worker in the nursery at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was cut short by effects of Covid-19.
"To be honest with you I didn’t want to go because I was too scared," Appels tells KickOff.com.
"It was only afterwards that I realised I made a mistake of not leaving Cape Town earlier. I only left Cape Town late, when I went to Wits but that was already late.
"I had an opportunity to leave (for Chiefs) when I was about 21 [in 2007] but I didn’t and even before that I had another opportunity to go to Sweden but Goolam Allie (Santos chairman) told me not to go.
"I was young and he told me stories, so my mind was all over the place. I couldn’t leave for Chiefs because Goolam Allie fed me a lot of stuff in my head and those days him being the boss he would just come with another R10 000.
"I could have gone to make better money and have a great career learning new things. I stayed at Santos for way too long. I wanted to leave but people would go behind my back to talk to my mom and dad. I could have been better off now but then it is all God’s plans."
Isaacs, now 34, broke through into the PSL as a teenager during the 2002/03 season and was a hit at the People's Team, where he scored a total of 54 goals.
"Right now, I don’t have any pride because I have a family to look after. I worked in the schools and at Kirstenbosch looking after the seeds and plants in the nursery for almost a year before Covid came in.
"I was getting something, and they told me they would phone me again. I don’t care about reputation and all of that because I don’t work for pride but my family. People can say what they want but I don’t care.
"Know what, a R100 means nothing when you still have the money but to look for it when you don’t have it becomes a struggle. When you have it, you don’t care.
"I have six kids with the first one is 18 now and already in matric because I had a child when I was in school before I started playing professional. The time when I was playing, I could afford kids but now I only support them every now and then when I can.
"I come from circumstances that were not right and the kids’ mothers understand because when I had some, I could support all of them," says a candid Isaacs who is still hoping for one last chance in football.
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