Andries Sebola reveals his muti rituals at Orlando Pirates


Former Orlando Pirates striker Andries Sebola has described the muti rituals the team carried out back in the 1990s.

'Local is Lekker', as Sebola was known during his playing days, began his career at Mahwelereng Real Rovers in 1994 before he went on to play for The Buccaneers, where he was mostly coming off the bench.

Sebola reveals how at Pirates everybody used to bath as a muti ritual, otherwise they would not play.

Check out pictures of Sebola in his heyday in the gallery above

"I'm from a Christian family, so the only thing I used to do was to go to my father's grave to put some Intsu [Snuff]. That's the only thing that I was doing when I came back home from Joburg. I never left home without going to my father's grave," Sebola tells

"But in football we used to bath my brother! All these PSL clubs are the same when it comes to muti. Kuyagezwa Baba! If you don't bath you don't play. Ja they would tell you straight, or else they give you your clearance you leave.

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"They don't care whether you are white or... you can ask the likes of Brandon Silent and Gavin Lane, they used to get in. Even Williams Okpara [who is known to be a Christian] got in. I'm from a Christian family."

Sebola was always known as a 'super sub' due to his habit of coming off the bench in the second half to score a crucial goal, although he was not too pleased with the role.

"No, I was not enjoying it. Because most of the time I wanted to send a message to the coaches that I deserve to start the game. 'Give me time to start the game because when I come in, in that particular minute I manage to score one or two goals, the team wins.'

"Then the following week they will put me on the bench again. I told them I want to play because where I come from at Rovers I was starting games and I was scoring goals. So even here I want to do the same at Pirates. So but they never listened to me. Viktor Bondarenko was the one who was giving me a chance late in the game saying, 'Go and help us please, my friend.'

With nicknames being synonymous with South African football, Sebola explains how he got the nickname 'Local is Lekker'.

"The football that I was playing when I came from Rovers, it was more like a local soccer. It was not that much fancy, simple soccer where you pass, you dribble. So when I joined Pirates there was a journalist Ben Moholoa, he's late now. He was working for the Sowetan. He told me that, 'This is your nickname because you play the simple soccer that we know.'

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"I left Pirates because of Gordon Igesund. He was the coach there. We had some differences because he had his own players coming from Manning Rangers, the likes of Simon Makhubela, Pollen Ndlanya, so he preferred the big strikers and he was using them the way Wits is playing now, crosses to score with headers. I didn't have height so he didn't prefer me. So I said no it's better I go to Ria Stars. I asked Mr Khoza to loan me to Ria Stars. The following season I came back to Pirates, there was this coach Kerjean [Yves] if you remember him with his chiskop and a white suit. We didn't see eye to eye so I went to China in Guangzhou on an eight-month loan."

Mahwelereng-born Sebola says things were not easy when Real Rovers were promoted to the National Soccer League in 1995.

"It was tough, we used to get paid around the 50th of the month. The team depended on the gate-takings. Only when we played Chiefs or Pirates were we certain of getting paid because there would be more people at the stadium. It was too little but we were surviving. The salary was around R3 500, that was the highest in the team. Me and Alex Bapela were around there because we were top players at Rovers you understand. I bought a Mazda 323, and I was the first player to buy a car at Real Rovers.

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"I remember we played Pirates at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, I scored two goals, the first one was a bicycle kick. They beat us 3-1 but I managed to score that one goal. After the game Pirates coach Mike Makaab said, 'We want you.' I said, 'No it's not up to me, it's for you to talk to our management.' They sent Kenny Ndlazi to come and talk to me because he coached me at Rovers. So he came to my place then we talked. He took me to Mr [Irvin] Khoza. We went there together with my lawyer then I signed a contract with Pirates. There it was good money because I received signing-on fees. I bought a BMW 325 iS. I joined Pirates early 1996."

A bad knee injury sustained during his time with The Buccaneers is what forced Sebola out of the game while playing for Dynamos.

"Even now I'm still walking with some pins in my knee to balance the ligaments. I've won the BP Top 8 in '96, Bob Save '96, Rothmans Cup, another BP Top 8, the league, the BP Top again 2002, ja those are my trophies, and also the Vodacom Challenge, Iwisa Spectacular... and I've still got the medals."

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Sebola says the only striker playing in the Premier Soccer League today that reminds him of his days is Pirates' Malawian forward Gabadinho Mhango.

"Gabadinho Mhango, but at times. He can position himself nicely in the box. But nowadays he's playing away from the box. So if he can try to be more in the box, then he will be a good finisher."

Today, Sebola is doing a few jobs where he is based in Mahwelereng, which includes being a football analyst on radio.

"I'm a football analyst at Thobela FM, and I'm also working at the Department of Health. Because the time I was still playing for Pirates I was also schooling. Ja so I'm working for the Department of Health under information and records. All the secrets of the hospital are with me. We are signing oaths there [laughs]. Other things I do it's promotion. Other companies are coming to me to promote their stuff. Coaching clinics, I also go there."