Thabo Matlaba talks to the Tembisan

Thabo "Festival" Matlaba.

Tembisa is blessed with enormous young talent that needs to be celebrated in various faculties.

This week The Tembisan spoke to Tembisa’s own soccer star, Thabo Matlaba, who shared his secret to being one of the best at what he does.

Tembisan: What can you tell us about Thabo Matlaba, the humble guy from eKasi?

Matlaba: Thabo Matlaba is a humble, ordinary guy who likes to hang out with friends. I like Tembisa. I was born here and grew up in Tembisa, and that’s why I am always here.

Tembisan: Your nickname is Festival. Where did you get the name?

Matlaba: I got it in Tswelopele while we were playing Top8 and Top4 tournaments on dusty grounds. It was given to me by a guy who was a Pirate’s team supporter. He is now an even greater supporter of Pirates.

Tembisan: What team did you support as a young boy?

Matlaba: I supported Pirates.

Tembisan: Did you always want to play for Pirates?

Matlaba: No. I didn’t wish to play for the team but I supported them.

Tembisan: What was your dream career as a young boy?

Matlaba: I wanted to be a professional football player, playing for Chiefs.

Tembisan: What was the first team you played for while growing up in Tembisa?

Matlaba: I played for Lester City from Phomolong.

Tembisan: How long did you play for the team?

Matlaba: I started to play for Lester at the age of 13 and left when I was 19.

Tembisan: Did you play soccer at school?

Matlaba: Yes, I played and we participated in a lot of the Coca Cola tournaments while I was at Sizwe Secondary School.

Tembisan: Which primary school did you attend?

Matlaba: Phomolong Primary.

Tembisan: Did you always expect to go this far with the sport, playing professionally?

Matlaba: Yes. I was very determined to play professionally one day. Today I play professionally because I worked hard.

Tembisan: Which professional soccer player inspired you?

Matlaba: Onyekachi Donatus Okonkwo.

Tembisan: From the dusty grounds to professional side – what was the first team you played for?

Matlaba: I played for Tembisa M-Tigers in Tsenelong, which was in the Vodacom league and moved to Free State Stars.

Tembisan: Many young boys in Tembisa look up to you. Do you see yourself starting something like an academy to nurture local talent?

Matlaba: What I can help them with for now, is to encourage them to be determined in soccer. Currently I haven’t thought about things like opening an academy.

Tembisan: If they want to be where you are today, what can they do?

Matlaba: Be determined and work hard.

Tembisan: Why did you decide to play for Orlando Pirates?

Matlaba: While I was playing for Free State Stars, teams like Pirates, Chiefs and Sundowns wanted to sign me up. I had to weigh my options and look at how I was going to play and perform at the chosen team. I saw an opportunity in Pirates and that is why I chose it. You can’t go to a team where you are not going to be used, where you are not going to play. You look at who is playing there and whether you can match their play.

  AUTHOR
Jantji Ngwenyama
Journalist

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