OJ's former agent admits Mabizela regret

Premiership

Mike Makaab believes Mbulelo 'OJ' Mabizela could have played for the finest teams in the world if things had gone according to plan for his career.

The former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana defender broke into South African football when the country was looking for new leaders who could emulate the likes of Lucas Radebe and others who made the country proud overseas and at international level.

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His former agent Makaab still speaks very highly of the calm and collected defender, who despite his immense talent failed to reach the heights expected of him.

"Oh what a talent, what an amazing talent!" says Makaab.

"If I have to be brutally honest, and I ask every single player that I've been privileged to represent, Mbulelo Mabizela was one of the greatest talents I ever laid my eyes on.

"And I'm not talking about only South Africa, I'm talking about on the continent as well."

Mabizela's career took a big step forward when he joined Tottenham Hotspur from Orlando Pirates in 2003, which was the biggest transfer in South African football at the time.

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"I mean for someone to go straight to Europe, to play his debut match for Tottenham Hotspur and to score that incredible goal against Leicester," Makaab recalls fondly.

"I opened the office in London. Stuart Peters was the guy that I put in the office in London, purely to look after him."

OJ's rise was then derailed by off-field issues and Makaab believes he could have played anywhere in the world.

"Unfortunately he was unplayable. Still love him but it's very sad for him because I don't think we saw even one percent of Mabizela was capable of doing.

"He could've played anywhere in the world."

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