At 37, Jabu Maluleke is the oldest player in the Absa Premiership right now and among the longest serving at Polokwane City, but his appetite for the game remains as huge as it was when he first started out over 10 years ago.
His displays are still so good that at some point last season he had to decline an offer from Orlando Pirates because he felt he had unfinished business at Rise and Shine. What unfinished business?
“I have been at Polokwane City for a while and winning trophies remains my biggest wish,” he said.
City have shown signs of becoming a team who can compete for silverware but that has not happened. Perhaps the constant changing of coaches has something to do with that. But Maluleke believes the MTN8, where Rise and Shine meet defending champions Cape Town City, represents a good chance for them. Wafa-Wafa kicks off on the weekend of August 17.
“Steadily, we are getting there. We just have to see what this season holds for us. We don’t have an easy start because we are playing them at their home ground but we will go for it.
“As players we have to be switched on at all times, no matter whether it is a cup game or league game. The level of preparation and application is the same. I believe in my boys and I believe we can come out with it.”
And with South Africa’s most successful team when it comes to a trophy count, Kaizer Chiefs out of this year’s MTN8Sibongiseni Gumbi, perhaps this is City’s chance to grab the limelight.
“There are no easy games. But yes, it gets easier without them – I can’t say their name right now because they are not here,” said Maluleke with a little laugh.
“But on a serious note the eight teams in the competition are all difficult and there will be no easy games,” he added.
On their new coach Zlatko Krmpotic, Maluleke said: “It’s been good. We are adapting well. He has brought in some stability and discipline. We are enjoying it and as you may have seen in our first game where we won (City beat Leopards 1-0 in their league opener).
“The changing of coaches has not really affected us, because it is still the same team and group of players. We just have to respect whoever is the coach and do our best.”