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Orlando Pirates legend Vilakazi reveals how the Soweto giants abandoned him ‘in hour of need’

9:01 AM GMT 15/12/2021
Bennedict Vilakazi - Orlando Pirates
The former Bafana Bafana midfielder explains how the Soweto giants allegedly ignored him when he needed the club's help

Former Orlando Pirates star Benedict Vilakazi has explained how the Soweto giants turned down his request to return to the club from Denmark.

The 39-year-old retired midfielder had just signed a five-year contract to play for Danish Superliga club Aalborg BK in Denmark when he sought to return home after losing his father, brother, and then sister in a span of four months.

However, his frantic efforts to return to Bucs, a club he had managed 170 appearances and scored 58 goals before moving to Denmark could not materialise as the chairman Ivon Khoza refused to respond to his request.

“I had a good time in Denmark, the coach the players, the chairman, were good and the supporters of the team were amazing, I had really a good time in Denmark,” Vilakazi narrated On The Whistle Podcast.

'I had to come back home'

“Unfortunately if God decided otherwise, you can’t do anything or say anything, so I just stayed there for a few months and I had to come back home because the same thing that happened to me when I had signed for that team is, I remember when I signed I came back home.

“After two days my father passed away, so I had to bury my father and then after that I went back [to Denmark] and then after a month, my elder brother passed away. And I [also] had to come back and arrange a funeral and then I went back. After two months my sister passed away.

“That was the killer one, to lose my sister, she had two kids, a girl, and a boy and at that time if I remember well, the girl was about 16, 17 years around there and the boy was and about 18. In the family that time it was only me who was working, yes my sister was doing two or three things for her kids, but when she passed away, no one was there to take care of the kids.

“For a couple of months while I was in Denmark I was sending money back home so that I can help them [the kids] go to school and buy some stuff but I later found out it was difficult because I couldn’t cope while my sisters’ kids are young and no one is taking care of them.

“Then I asked Pirates, I spoke to the chairman [Khoza] and asked him, I have got this problem at home that I need to take care of my sisters' kids and it is difficult for me while I am away to take care of them because they are young and my brother is also still trying to find his feet, look for a job and all of that.

“So it will be better if I come back immediately, you can ask the team to loan me to you guys and then I will play and see how things are going back home and if it means coming back home forever I will do so because right now I don’t have any choice than to come back home.”

Vilakazi continued: “The chairman promised to come back to me but nothing came, he didn’t come back to me, until today, he didn’t come back to me, I also spoke to Stanley Tshabalala, he also said he will come back to me, I will speak to the chairman and get back to you, I also spoke to Floyd Mbele, I even spoke to the chairman’s son to try and put pressure to the chairman to say, hey Vilakazi wants to come back, but eventually it didn’t happen.”

'I did not think twice about Sundowns'

On how he ended up playing for Sundowns, Vilakazi said: “While I was there, then I got a call from Sundowns, they said 'hey man we have been looking for you for all this time,' because I remember after the funeral they called me and said, 'we want you to come back and play for us', this is after I tried to reach Pirates chairman, and he kept telling me ooh, 'I am in a meeting', sometimes he couldn’t pick up my calls.

"After a week, Sundowns called my number in Denmark and they said, 'we waited for you for the meeting on Tuesday but you did not show up what happened?' But I told them, my coach called me and said I must come back to Denmark because on Tuesday we were having a Europa League match and he wanted me to play in that game, so I had to fly back.

“So they told me 'look, we know what is happening in your life, we know the challenges that you are facing now so as Sundowns we want you to come back and play for us, can you come and play for us?' I said no doubt, I didn’t even think twice, I said perfect they said 'okay, can you give us the number of your chairman so that we can talk to him and then you come back'.

“I gave Sundowns the number and after 30 minutes they came back to me to say 'the deal is done, everything is fine we have already booked your ticket and what we want to arrange is the team will put your things together and then they will send them to South Africa and you will get them here'.”