Ex-Downs defender 'retires in peace'

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'Papi', as Mungomeni is affectionately known, has called time on his career at the age of 33 and gone into business in the construction industry.

"Papi Mungomeni has officially retired and challenged himself on facing the reality out of soccer fame to live a life that will make him a better person in business," Mungomeni tells this website.

"I never wanted to retire at an old age. I have left football peacefully with good discipline. I have never attended any hearing in my 12 years of playing professional football.

"It was not easy to quit football because I was well mentored and surrounded by good people. I can now say I have retired."

Mungomeni, who grew up in the rural village of Rapali in Limpopo, feels he served the game with distinction since making his topflight debut with Black Leopards.

"I am hustling for my kids to live a better life than me when I was growing up because life was not easy for me. It was rough growing up in the village of Rapali.

"As a young man growing up and playing soccer in the dusty street, I was spotted playing soccer at school I went all the way to play in all divisions; representing my country with Under-20 and U-23 and earning a senior cap which was a dream come true."

Mungomeni's highlights and influences:

1. My memorable moment in football was at Sundowns, scoring goals as a defender and surrounded by big stars.
2. My big influence in football was my dad who also played soccer and was a star in his time. His brother was killed on a soccer pitch in Soweto a long time ago. May his soul rest in peace.
3. My best coaches are Steve Komphela, Gordon Igesund and Hristo Stoichkov. I wish Pitso Mosimane also coached me because I believe he is a great coach.
4. My best friend in football is Lerato Chabangu and we are still great friends.
5. My most memorable game was against Orlando Pirates where I scored a goal in Atteridgeville and helped my team win that game. Tso Vilakzi scored for Pirates.