Throwback Thursday: Mike Rapatsa

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"My first game for Chiefs was against my former team Rabali Blackpool and I scored four goals and we went on to win 5-0. It is an unforgettable feat," Rapatsa tells snl24.com/kickoff.

He explains how his move to the mighty Glamour Boys came about. 

"Screamer Tshabalala (then Chiefs team manager) went straight to my home looking for me in Turfloop. There was a swap deal of two players from Chiefs to Rabali, and a R65 000 transfer fee. I obviously enjoyed my time at Kaizer Chiefs simply because they are a big and famous team, whereas at Rabali Blackpool we went for six months without a salary."

Rapatsa retired in 2002 at the age of 30 while plying his trade at Al-Wakra FC in Qatar due to some disagreements.

"The retirement was due to a contractual disagreement and unpaid signing-on fees," he says.

Despite having played for big teams like Chiefs and Al-Wakra, the former striker says the most he earned was at AmaZulu FC where he walked away with R25 000 a month.

Though he says he doesn't envy today's players, he admits that they are well remunerated and points out that as a prolific striker, if he was playing now he would be one of the highest earners.

"As a prolific striker I would have amassed R300 000 per month. For me it was not that difficult (saving money) because I used the little that I had wisely by purchasing items on lay-bys or cash."

He believes the reason current strikers are struggling to hit the back of the net is because coaches are too controlling.

"I honestly believe that there is too much coaching. You can't teach a player to score goals. Scoring goals must be an inborn talent. For example Benni McCarthy was a natural goalscorer and there's not many of them nowadays, most strikers are converted that's why they are not scoring goals."

Asked what does he make of the current Chiefs team, Rapatsa, who insists he regrets nothing in his football career, says: "Generations differ, football has evolved rapidly since my playing days and our generation. Compared to today's, it is highly incomparable." 

These days to put food on the table Rapatsa works as a part-time facilitator, but says he has something else in the pipeline.

"I do some facilitation learnerships on a temporary basis; however, soon I will be working as one of SAFA's instructors, it's enough to keep the fire burning.

"I'm one of the Jehova's Witnesses and the spiritual satisfaction I get from serving Jehova is more appealing than any material things can ever bring. I am married to Abigail, she's my wife and best friend, and we are blessed with six children - four girls and two boys, with the eldest 20 years and the youngest only 10 years of age."

Rapatsa is currently based at Ga Thoka Paledi near Mankweng township, which is situated 30km north-east of Polokwane in Limpopo.