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‘The call said you’ll be suspended for three years’: Siphelele Mthembu

Siphelele Mthembu has opened up about the shocking phone call that made him join Orlando Pirates unwillingly after Kaizer Chiefs lost the case of his ownership.

The tug-of-war between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs over Mthembu is well documented The striker reveals a phone call that left him with no choice but to accept being a Buccaneer.

According to Mthembu, he was first scouted by Chiefs when he played for Maritzburg City. It was a dream come true when they tabled an offer as he grew up supporting the club.

He started training with the Glamour Boys ahead of the new season. The Maritzburg City owner, the late Bongi Hlophe had a relationship of some sort with the Sea Robbers. It might have had a hand in his U-turn on the player’s move.

Mthembu says he was told he had signed with Pirates while he was with Kaizer Chiefs in camp. However, to this day, he insists he never inked a deal with Ezimnyama Ngenkani.


“I was scouted by Chiefs, I trained with them and everything was signed,” said Mthembu in an interview with FARPost.

“My late boss Bongi Hlophe, may his soul rest in peace, I think he had a relationship with Pirates…

“Then after that, I was in camp with Chiefs in Cape Town and I heard that I had signed with Pirates. So, I didn’t understand because Bobby [Motaung] said, ‘Relax we will sort it out’.

“Ever since then, that’s what happened. All I know is that I signed with Chiefs and I don’t remember signing a contract with Pirates.

“I wanted to be with Chiefs because when I was young I loved the club and my family as well [supported the club]. And when I got there, I was convinced that wouldn’t be my end, I thought I would have an opportunity to go overseas.”

In what was a bitter dispute, the PSL’s dispute resolution committee ruled in favour of Pirates. 

Despite his overflowing love for the Gold and Black shirt, Mthembu had to switch to the archrivals begrudgingly. In the end, he had to bring home the bacon.

Siphelele Mthembu reveals a phone call that made him join Orlando Pirates
Siphelele Mthembu – Picture by Pretoria Callies


“I came from a family where no one bought a car, no one built a house and no one ever went to varsity. All those things played in my head and I had to sacrifice [my love of being at Chiefs],” he added.

“I had to think about changing fortunes at home and have a generation that would have a better education through me.

“That’s a decision or sacrifice I took that it’s no longer about me but the mother that lived in a house that had glassless windows. I wanted to change the situation at home.

“As much as it was painful, I had to do it for my family so they could be at peace as well. I was new in this game but I had to encounter scandals that I couldn’t understand.”

After joining the Happy People, ‘Shaka Zulu’, as he’s well-known, went AWOL. He reveals that he was home. He received a call from Pirates which was a caution of possible consequences for not honouring his contract with the club.


“It was hard [when I left Chiefs], I think I cried that night because I didn’t want that to happen. All I wanted was to play football,” he continued.

“I went to Pirates but I ran away again and I went home. I got a call saying, ‘If you want to play football come. If you don’t want to play football anymore, you’ll be suspended for three years.’

“I didn’t know anything about suspension and I just wanted to be at Chiefs. So I spoke to Bobby and Kaizer [the Motaungs]. Credit must go to them, they sat me down and told me these things happen in football.

“They said just go and enjoy football, if you come back again, you will come back again.”

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