Kaizer Chiefs legend Doctor Khumalo has opened up about his past as a professional player starting out at Amakhosi and credited Orlando Pirates legend Teboho Moloi for helping him.
Khumalo is arguably one the biggest and most recognisable former Chiefs stars and remains a respected figure both from within the club and the nation as a whole.
The former Bafana Bafana midfielder recently attended an event hosted by Diageo SA to discuss ways to curb the ongoing endemic of alcohol abuse killing footballers’ careers – also in attendance was coach Steve Komphela, Jabu Mahlangu and Teboho Mokoena.
There, ‘Doc’ spoke openly about how he managed to overcome the temptations of being surrounded by bad influences both personally and in his career, and revealed how Moloi took him under his wing and ensured he wouldn’t stray from the path that led him to where and who he is today.
“I also faced situations [of being around alcohol] when I was growing up in Soweto, when I had to concentrate on education and soccer,” explained Khumalo.
“And I have to give credit to the chairman Mr Kaizer Motaung because that’s the only voice I know and because I only played for Kaizer Chiefs.
“When I signed for Chiefs, I had more than 200 friends and I went through whatever any kid would in the township – all things negative, and I recall and quote my Mom saying, ‘Because you’ve just signed for Kaizer Chiefs, you need to change your friends.’
“That was difficult because, you know in the townships, they have these Stokvels and, prior to signing for Chiefs, I was a member of these Stokvels – we would buy probably a case and a spirit, and I was not drinking but I just had these bad friends.
“So, it took senior guys in the township to take me out of that tent and threaten to tell my Dad that I do these things, and that’s when everything started to change – two weeks later Chiefs signed me to the senior team.
“It was difficult but I had to [leave those friends], and that’s when I happened to meet Teboho Moloi, who is still my friend today, and that’s how I managed to deal with the situation of being a professional footballer.”