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Siyabonga Sangweni: ‘I signed with Kaizer Chiefs in 2010 but…’

Disclosing how he escaped from the Kaizer Chiefs academy in 1999, Siyabonga Sangweni also revisited a twist that occurred when he signed for Amakhosi in 2010 but ended up at Orlando Pirates the following year.

In point of fact, ‘Nsimbi’ could have emerged in football as a Glamour Boy had he held on when he was at the club’s youth structures before 2000. He was in the same team with the likes of Jabu Mahlangu and Nhlanhla Kubheka who were later promoted to the senior side.

However, at 18, hailing from the deep rural areas of Dondotha, Mpangeni in KZN, Sangweni found Chiefs’ R200 allowance insufficient to support his family. He felt compelled to leave the academy and seek opportunities to generate more income.

Under the cover of darkness, he fled back to Mpangeni and signed with Bongani FC, a then-Vodacom League club, where he earned a significantly higher salary of R1200.


“The team that I was playing for fetched me from Chiefs Academy,” Sangweni told journalists during the opening of Siyabonga Sangweni Sports Complex in Dondotha on Saturday.

“In 1999, I was in the Kaizer Chiefs academy but I ran away, Bobby [Motaung] knows the story. The likes of Jabu Pule and [Nhlanhla] Kubheka, we were in that team that was going to be promoted.

“But I just felt that this thing of being given R200 to buy a bathing soap while at home there is a team that can give me R1500 salary…I would be able to share a little with my mother from that.

“I told them [Bongani FC owners] to fetch me at night, they came and stole me. At Chiefs, they woke up and I was no longer there. They eventually saw me emerge at Golden Arrows and it was late.”

Siyabonga Sangweni on signing for Kaizer Chiefs
Siyabonga Nomvethe and Siyabonga Sangweni – Picture by Mthoko Mkhize/KZN DSAC

After a stint with Bongani FC, Sangweni moved to Nathi Lions before Golden Arrows secured his signature, beating out AmaZulu FC in the process.

He played a key role in Golden Arrows’ 2009 MTN8 victory under coach Manqoba Mngqithi. With a few months left on his contract, Sangweni made a move behind Arrows’ back. He signed with his former youth club Kaizer Chiefs.

Yet, in a turn of events, he ended up signing with Orlando Pirates, instead of switching to Naturena in 2011. 


“My father wanted me to play for Chiefs, but my mother was close to Mato [Madlala],” he added.

“Before mom passed away, she said everything you will do, here is your mom [pointing at Mato Madlala] who will tell you what to do in football. I told Mato I wanted to go to Chiefs and she said, ‘Okay you will go’.

“I signed with Chiefs in 2010 and told Mato: ‘I’ve signed with Chiefs and have to start on Tuesday’. 

“Sis Mato then told me they want you at Pirates. I was confused how because I was done with Chiefs. She said forget about that, I’m your parent and everything will go well.

“After that, chairman [Irvin Khoza] phoned me and said, ‘Look, we have spoken with your mom. You belong at Pirates now’ and I eventually agreed. They booked me a flight for a meeting to discuss contracts in Johannesburg.

“And that was the end of the story, I ended up Indoda Emnyama, Once and Always.”

When asked if Kaizer Chiefs protested his transfer to Orlando Pirates, Sangweni hinted that there might have been some kind of agreement between the two clubs.

“Perhaps they made agreements with Chiefs, but I was no longer there,” he concluded.

RELATED STORY: Elated Sangweni reacts to Sports Complex naming in his honour

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