Mphela: French girls thought I was a murderer


In this week's Story Behind My Nickname, legendary Bafana Bafana striker Katlego 'Killer' Mphela explains the origin behind his famous nickname.

The 36-year-old retired striker spent two and half years in Europe where he featured for French teams RC Strasbourg Alsace and Stade de Reims.

"In France, they translated my nickname to french where my youth coach used to call me 'Killer', but in French," Mphela tells

"At first People in France didn't understand why I was called a killer, it was even worse with the young girls.

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"They would ask me 'why Killer? Are you a murderer? Are you killing people?' I had to explain it was my nickname in football circles. Then our coach also explained to them that where I'm from I'm called 'Killer'."

The former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns attacker will always be remembered for when he lived up to his nickname against legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, held in South Africa.

"I was given the nickname at the Jomo Cosmos Academy," Mphela reveals.

"There was a guy called Tshegofatso, I think he passed on, may his soul rest in peace, we were roommates.

"So every time we did finishing drills, and as I was so skinny they couldn't believe what they saw each time I took a shot because I used to kill goalkeepers.

"So Tshegofatso with Lizo Mjempu, the former Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows player started calling me 'Killer! Killer!'

"So since then, the name stuck, and even Mr Sono started calling me that, and since then everyone started calling me 'Killer! Killer!'

"It suited me, it was a nice name because those days I loved shooting from a distance."

Mphela says he is aware of Orlando Pirates legend James Mkhwanazi who shares the same nickname.

"I heard there were former players who were nicknamed 'Killer' as well, who had the same quality as me."

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