The story of Sibusiso Khumalo is one that makes you ask yourself, ‘what on earth went wrong?’, given the amount of time that the now 30-year-old player spent at Mamelodi Sundowns and hardly kicked a ball.
Khumalo stayed at Chloorkop for about six years with numerous loan deals to teams like Jomo Cosmos, Maritzburg United and Bidvest Wits – even there, however, he failed to establish himself as a regular.
His frustrations in the Premier Soccer League saw him turn to Equatorial Guinea where he tried his luck at Futuro Kings. That did not last long as he returned home to where he now plays for Marumo Gallants. His coach at Gallants, Dan “Dance” Malesela, says the former Downs player has plenty of potential but he will need to polish him up when they return from the festive break.
“He has not played so many games because I am looking at him as somebody who has a lot of potential, but it is not coming out. I realised why he was not playing at Sundowns,” said Malesela.
“But I said ‘let’s leave it for the resumption on the 10th. We can then try and push other things that we have not been able to do with the players and thereafter we will see. If people don’t change, then it will be a problem but I don’t think they won’t change, I am hoping there will be a change because if it is not there I will force it,” he added.
Being the astute coach that Malesela is, he has not been afraid to make changes in the team since arriving as head coach, even going as far as dropping veteran goalkeeper Wahsington Arubi and giving King Ndlovu his debut for Gallants when they played against Mamelodi Sundowns in their last game of the year.
“I kept on saying ‘why are we not changing the goalkeeper?’ because it means we rely on one person and things can happen if we introduce a goalkeeper later in the season. We wanted him to have match practice because we have not had time to practice. This is to make Washington aware that there is competition because sometimes when you are playing all the time and there is a good goalkeeper next to you, you don’t feel that there is competition,” said Malesela.