Matlaba: Why I didn't consider Chiefs


Black Leopards left-back Thabo 'Festival' Matlaba has revealed for the first time why he did not consider joining the likes of Kaizer Chiefs when he left Orlando Pirates.

On his last days at The Buccaneers the Bafana Bafana star was strongly linked with Amakhosi but ended up at Lidoda Duvha instead.

"To be honest I already decided to go and play for any smaller team in the PSL [when I left Pirates]," Matlaba tells

"Even if Chiefs or any other big team approached me I was not going to go there. To be honest with you, I wanted to stay at Pirates. But I didn't want to stay at Pirates not playing, you understand?

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"So that is why when they offered me a salary cut and said I must stay at Pirates... but I thought if I stay at Pirates I'm not going to play, then here's a salary cut. So the best thing is to leave and go and play football, because that's what I want.

"So I heard about rumours of Chiefs, SuperSport [United], I heard about the rumours of Highlands Park you know, but I had already decided that I'm going to a smaller team whether it's Maritzburg... I wanted to go to Maritzburg to be honest, I wanted to go to coach Eric Tinkler.

"Because you want to go to Chiefs... it's been long not playing at Orlando Pirates [but] you want to go to Kaizer Chiefs? They'll expect a lot from you. I know the pressure that comes when you play for the bigger teams. So I didn't want to put myself under that pressure.

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"So I told myself that I'm going to a smaller team, it's okay as long as I'm going to get game-time than go to Chiefs and put myself under pressure [after] not playing for so long. Then it's going to be difficult for me if I don't deliver.

"So that's why I decided that I'm going to Maritzburg United. That's when Mr Thidiela [Leopards chairman David] called me that he wants me to play for his team, and he offered me a good contract.

"I could not turn it down. It was a better offer than Maritzburg. So I had to choose between Maritzburg and Leopards. So I went to Leopards cause I knew that I'm going to play.

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"I played for Orlando Pirates under pressure for seven years, so now I didn't play for almost two seasons. So I want to go back to a bigger team? So if I was fighting to go back to a bigger team, that was going to be my downfall. That is why I didn't even think about those teams."

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