Pollen Ndlanya reveals R800 starting salary at Kaizer Chiefs


It's Flashback Friday with Pollen Ndlanya, who reveals his career salary information as well as the embarrassing sum of money he was once paid at Kaizer Chiefs.

Pollen Ndlanya is originally from Ekurhuleni and like any other South African kid he started the game in his township's dusty grounds, not knowing that one day he would play for the mighty Kaizer Chiefs.

"There was this under-21 tournament that was played by the big teams' reserve sides," Ndlanya narrates to snl24.com/kickoff on how he managed to join Chiefs in 1990.

"Sundowns had the likes of Mambush [Daniel Mudau], Hluphi [Joas Magolego] in their reserve side. Kaizer Chiefs had the likes of Shakes [Isaac Kungwane], Thabang [Lebese]... but I was playing for a team from Daveyton called Daveyton Argentina.

READ: Ndlanya explains Modise, Kungwane politics

"Semi-final was against the reserve side of Kaizer Chiefs in Pretoria. We lost 3-2 but I scored two goals. So Ryder Mofokeng was coaching this side but at the same time was an assistant to Jeff Butler in the senior team.

"So he invited me to come and train with the Chiefs reserve side. So they were training in Soweto and I was from Daveyton, which is far. So they advised me to train with the senior team at George Goch [Stadium] which is in town in Joburg.

"Shakes Kungwane had already signed with the senior team then. Can you imagine coming straight from the township's dusty grounds to rub shoulders with superstars like Teenage [Dladla], Trevor Mthimkhulu... that's where my friendship with Shakes started as he welcomed me with both hands.

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"You won't believe my brother, I caught Jeff Butler's eye within three seconds with just the way I touched the ball. Lucas Radebe was marking me at training and I couldn't feel him my friend. I turned him inside out, and Jeff Butler told Teenage and Ryder [his assistants] that 'look, this guy is not going to the reserves'.

"So all the players started to love me. I signed with the senior team of Kaizer Chiefs without even going to play with the reserve side. I was 20. Because of the quality that was there, I was just happy to be on the bench. I remember sitting on the bench next to Timothy Lesenyane and Albert 'M'Zambia' Bwalya."

Ndlanya joined Manning Rangers in 1991 and impressed there for three years before returning to Amakhosi in 1994.

"That's where I turned all the tables. I was scoring goals like nobody's business there. I remember we beat Chiefs at Chatsworth, I scored two goals and we beat them 2-1," he recalls.

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"Aah, the following day I received a call from the management of Rangers saying, 'No, these mafias from Soweto they want you back.' Then I went back to Chiefs. First game against Witbank Aces I scored five goals. The other week during the Red Nose campaign I scored another five goals [against Manning Rangers] and we beat them 9-1. Two games, 10 goals."

Ndlanya's form with Chiefs earned the striker a move to Turkey in 1996 where he played with Fani Madida at Bursaspor and also had a stint with Goztepe.

'Trompies' returned to Amakhosi on loan in 1998 and scored the winning penalty in the Rothmans Cup final penalty shootout against Mamelodi Sundowns following a controversial 2-2 draw.

Check out Joel Masilela's incorrectly ruled-out goal that might have given Sundowns a 3-2 win in that final below

"I came back to Kaizer Chiefs on loan for a year. I became a top goalscorer and when I came back it was Paul Dolezar and the team was struggling. They were losing five games in a row."

A short stint with AmaZulu was followed by two years with Chiefs' arch-rivals Orlando Pirates, where he stopped playing in 2002 due to injury.

"I played overseas, Bafana Bafana, Chiefs, Pirates, what else do I want? My first salary at Chiefs, you will be shocked. I was earning R800 and there was no signing-on fee," Ndlanya reveals.

READ: 'Dynamos almost doubled my Chiefs salary'

"I only realised there was money in football when I was at Manning Rangers because there I was earning R7 000 and there was a R20 000 signing-on fee. When I came back to Chiefs I started to earn R10 000, R12 000, and signing-on fee was R120 000.

"Playing overseas I would get 10 000 US dollars a week – the currency then it was R80 000. I bought houses, three or four of them. I rented them. I still have those townhouses so at least I get something out of that."

These days Ndlanya runs a few businesses to put food on the table.

"Hey my friend, I used to be married but I'm now divorced. But now I have someone in my life. Remember we are old now, we need someone who will close our eyes once we pass away [laughs]! I have four children. It's boys, they don't even play football, they sing. Hey these boys! Aah! All they do is rap... Ayi suka! The first-born is 21 now.

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"You know sometimes not everyone will be a coach, although I would have loved to become one. But you know the football politics here, everyone wants to be a coach, even though he never played the game. They put him there just because of who he is. He is a cousin of so-and-so, now do you see that thing?

"Then I started my own company, Ndlanya Consulting Management, and I'm supporting the hospitals with medical and equipment. I have my own bakkie and boys who transport and deliver. I'm doing the paperwork.

Ndlanya has one last wish in football.

"If they can give me the opportunity sometimes you see to coach the strikers. I would concentrate on this boy, the Chiefs slayer [Judas Moseamedi]. I love this guy's strength and energy. He just needs polishing here and there. I think he's the kind of striker that reminds me of myself."

View more pics of Ndlanya from his earlier years at Naturena below