Thembinkosi Sekgaphane
Phakaaathi Digital Administrator
2 minute read
5 Sep 2018
3:55 pm

SA players are not passionate about football – Pirates legend

Thembinkosi Sekgaphane

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Jacky "Styles" Ledwaba is enjoying his time away from the spotlight at his Johannesburg home with his family.

Orlando Pirates legend Jacky "Styles" Ledwaba

Styles is not to be confused with former Zulu Royals striker Jackie Ledwaba who was the top scorer in the 2003/2004 season. They share a first and second name and, amazingly, have both coached ABC League Motsepe side Magesi FC.

“I spend most of my days at home because I am not coaching at the moment, so I read papers each day, I follow football and what is currently happening,” said Ledwaba.

“I get paid for making appearances at a few tournaments for legends, and as a speaker at events that are sports-related, and I still watch football in the townships.”

Ledwaba says playing football in the 1980s didn’t have a lot of financial rewards and made it difficult to save or invest in a business. Having played alongside Tebogo Moloi and after making his mark with Pirates, Ledwaba was signed by Mamelodi Sundowns.

“My highest salary at Pirates was R800, and the winning bonus was R200 at the time. We got R100 for a draw, so we made enough money to take care of the family. I didn’t plan for life after football,” explained Ledwaba.

READ: Ex-Pirates midfielder finds new home

Ledwaba puts his family first in everything and attributes his success as a player to always having his family at the back of his mind before going on the field.

The 63-year-old shares the sentiments of many retired players about the decline of the standard of football in this country. Ledwaba believes administrators are not to blame, however, and slammed the conduct of the current generation of footballers, questioning their passion of the game.

“Our local footballers need to learn from players around Africa. Players from other African countries see football as a way to get out of poverty, while our players are comfortable playing in a league that pays a lot of money. We knew you had to play for the family to eat and for my siblings to have what they need. They are not passionate about the game, but we cannot blame the bosses (administrators). We went back to work if we lost, the current players post pictures minutes after their club loses a game.

“The other thing is, they don’t respect the fans, we lived in the township and the fans were our neighbours and they gave us feedback after games, it wasn’t to put you down but rather to make you better. Players storm off the field and insult others after scoring goals these days. They paid to see Gabuza and he insulted them.”

Ledwaba plans to open a football academy in the next year, which will train young school kids and teach them about the importance of education and family.