“It was a learning curve, I have matured now and can’t wait to get back to the soccer field and do what I love”.
The game of football is such an intriguing game, one minute you are top of your game, man of the match awards are rolling in, the front page of newspapers and you the talk of the town and all the big teams come knocking for your signature. It takes one bad move to erase all that hard work, the cruelty of football is that you are as good as your last game.
One player that came out of nowhere and took the South African football industry by storm is Ngqeleni born Luyolo Nomandela, he burst onto the scene in the 2012/13 season for Free State Stars under the tutelage of Steve Komphela, he went on to make twenty-six appearances for Ella Koto and scoring on four occasions in his maiden season. Nomandela also managed to get himself called up to the national team and he grabbed himself a goal in a friendly game against Burkina Faso.
After forty-seven appearances for the Bethlehem based outfit, Nomandela heeds the call for Chloorkop, as Masandawana made an offer to bring the winger and beef up their squad. He joined a team a team full of stars which had the likes of Lebohang Mokoena, Anthony Laffor, Elias Pelembe just to name a few.
“I think I joined Sundowns too early, I wasn’t ready psychological to deal with playing for a team like Downs, I wanted to prove to people that I could play at a big team and that I did not make a wrong move to Chloorkop”
With a star-studded side under the tactician Pitso Mosimane, the Ngqeleni born’s stay with the Pretoria side was not a pleasant one, having to fight for a place in a team that had some of the best in the league and also trying to adapt in a new city, that proved to be a lot. He only managed to get twenty-six minutes under his belt in his first season. The rest of his contract duration was spent on him being loaned out to other Absa Premiership clubs like Moroka Swallows and Jomo Cosmos.
“Coming from a small town like Bethlehem to Jozi, played a role, I had to adapt and also to the team’s way of playing. The coaches way of playing was not the same as where I came from. It wasn’t easy but one thing that comes to mind was that the coach(Pitso) was always there for me every step of the way. All I can say is that my time at Sundowns, I was not ready and appreciate the fact that when I asked them to give me a chance to go somewhere on loan to get game time they allowed me”
The Bafana international’s loan spells at Moroka Swallows and Jomo Cosmos proved to be unfruitful as he only played five hundred and sixteen minutes in two seasons and he looked like a shadow of himself and he could not produce those top class performances that earned him a move to Chloorkop. Eric Tinkler came to the player’s rescue as he offered him an opportunity to revive his career by signing him at Cape Town City. Nomandela only managed two substitute appearances for the Citizen.
” There were things that were not football related, that were affecting me personally and were not football related. I approached the team and I told them that, I’m not in the right frame of mind and if I don’t sort it out it might affect my play on the field”
The 29-year-old winger recently joined ambitious ABC Motsepe outfit Baberwa who are campaigning in the Gauteng province and are currently the log leaders, he joins the likes of Tefu Mashamaite, Lucky Khune and Mthokozisi Yende who were once in the books of the mighty Amakhosi.
“I have consulted people in order to get myself in the right frame of mind. I have been pushing myself so that I can get back and do what I love most. I have made my mistakes and I saw that those things won’t take me anywhere. I lost the hunger before and I was relaxed because people knew me and recognised me through what I did before. I have learned my lesson, the hunger is back now that’s all I can say. Nomandela is back and I am happy, I am surrounding myself with positive people who want me to succeed”