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Kaizer Chiefs legend Nomvethe nearly joined Mamelodi Sundowns, why Orlando Pirates were not an option

12:24 AM SGT 17/10/22
Siyabonga Nomvethe, AmaZulu FC, October 2022
Kaizer Chiefs legend Siyabonga Nomvethe has divulged that he came close to joining Mamelodi Sundowns during his playing days.
  • Sundowns offered Nomvethe an improved wage
  • Bhele rejected Pirates before joining Chiefs
  • The Bafana Bafana legend later joined Pirates

WHAT HAPPENED? Nomvethe was one of the most exciting attackers in the county when he joined Chiefs from African Wanderers in 1998.
The retired player has disclosed that he attracted interest from Sundowns who were offering him an improved wage before he left Wanderers for the Soweto giants.
Nomvethe, who was nicknamed Bhele during his playing days, also revealed that Chiefs' archrivals, Orlando Pirates approached him.
However, there was too much competition for attackers at Bucs who had signed Nomvethe's former teammates at Wanderers, Sibusiso Zuma and Phumlani Mkhize.

WHAT HE SAID ABOUT SUNDOWNS: “When I was in the PSL with African Wanderers, I was earning R2,000 and some of the guys in the team said to me I am doing the job but I not getting what is due to me,” Nomvethe told Times Live.

“They said you can’t earn R2,000 while some people who are sitting on the bench are earning R3,000 and I agreed with them. I missed maybe five days of training sessions because I was at Sundowns to meet Natasha [Tsichlas], Angelo [Tsichlas] and Peter [Koutroulis].

“We had discussions and they told me straight that they wanted to sign me because I have everything that they wanted. They said if they have my clearance certificate, they will pay me R8,000," he continued.

“From R2,000 to R8,000 was a good adjustment but the guys at Wanderers found out that I was meeting with Sundowns, they phoned me to return home and [said] they will give me whatever I wanted.

“I returned to Durban and they gave me R4,500 and I was happy with it."

WHY HE JOINED CHIEFS?: “When I calculated, I said to myself Chiefs have the late Marc Batchelor and Pollen Ndlanya. I knew I will fight and also my advantage was that they (Batchelor and Ndlanya) are older than me," he added.

“What also contributed to my decision was the fact that the late goalkeeper Arthur Bartman was at Chiefs and I knew him from our days at African Wanderers.”

WHY HE TURNED DOWN PIRATES: “Pirates wanted three of us but I didn’t want to follow Zuma and Mkhize because they had players like Denis Lota, Jerry Skhosana and Joseph Ngake and I knew that I wasn’t going to play there," he revealed.

“Competition was too high at Pirates but not that high at Chiefs and I knew I was going to have a chance to compete with my speed and whatever I have.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE?: Nomvethe went on to achieve legendary status at Chiefs during his three-year stint with the Naturena-based giants.
The Durban-born legend scored 42 goals in 79 matches across all competitions for Amakhosi - scoring a historic goal when he netted Chiefs' first goal of the millennium in January 2000 against his former club, Wanderers.
Furthermore, Bhele helped Amakhosi clinch their maiden trophy in the new millennium, Bob Save Supa Bowl (Nedbank Cup), while also lifting the Rothmans Cup (Telkom Knockout Cup) with the Soweto giants.
Nomvethe ended his successful spell with Chiefs by scooping the 2000-01 PSL Footballer of the Year and Player's Player of the Season accolades and he moved to Italian Serie A side Udinese.
He returned home in 2006 and he had a brief stint at Pirates before returning to Europe as he joined Danish outfit Aalborg BK.

WHAT IS NOMVETHE UP TO: Bhele started a coaching career after retiring from professional football in 2016. The former Empoli player joined AmaZulu's technical team as an assistant coach. Nomvethe was recently redeployed to the reserve team as an assistant coach. He is still the highest all-time goalscorer in the PSL with 111 goals.