Gordon Igesund reflects on time with Siyabonga Nomvethe at Moroka Swallows


Igesund goes a long way back with Nomvethe, having seen his rise since he made his professional debut as a teenager with African Wanderers back in 1997.

The two finally got to work together at Moroka Swallows between November 2010 and June 2012, during which ‘Bhele’ also picked up the PSL Footballer and Top Goal Scorer of the Season awards, after finding the net 20 times in 2011/12.

Igesund has nothing but praise for the 40-year-old, who he believes is “the ultimate professional football player”, and has reflected upon their time together at The Dube Birds. 

“For me he’s the ultimate professional football player. He’s 40-years-old now, and Siyabonga has always been that player who works so hard,” Igesund tells

“When he was with me [at Swallows], I used to try and nurse him and say to him, ‘Listen, I need you to be ready on the weekend, so today you’re not going to train with the team’.

“And he would say, ‘No, coach. I’m a Zulu boy, I need to go [train],’ which says a lot about the man he is, and a fantastic professional. He’s such a good example to all the youngsters out there.

“He’s a really good person and he’s respected the game, and that’s what has taken him such a long way. He respected the job, knowing it was his life and sometimes it could be short.

“He was a great sensation for South African football, to have been able to play at the highest level and on a regular basis the way he has done. I wish him well.”

The four-time League-winning coach has also been left wondering how much distance the former Udinese attacker has covered in his career.

“To do what he’s done for 21 years, playing on a regular basis and training every single day is a long, long time. I’d love to know how much mileage he’s done,” Igesund says.

“When a car reaches 200 000 kilometres you say it’s time to trade it in, so I’d like to know how many kilometres he’s done, if a player’s average is around 12kms per game, and the amount of games he’s played.”

Paying tribute to a retiring stalwart has often been overlooked in South African football, but the 62-year-old tactician believes Bhele is fully deserving of a testimonial, which Usuthu has since vowed to orchestrate. 

“It’s a bit unfortunate that he’s moved from club to club, and he spent a lot of time with Moroka Swallows but unfortunately they are no more.

“Personally, how do you reward a player like that? I think you give him a testimonial of some sort. There’s many players who haven’t had that, like ‘Shoes’ Mosheou – also a Bafana international who also played until he was 40-odd.

“I just think that players like Siyabonga need to be acknowledged for their achievements and what they’ve contributed towards the game,” he concluded.

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