Mamelodi Sundowns star defender Anele Ngcongca has opened up for the first time on how he turned down Kaizer Chiefs in favour of Mamelodi Sundowns upon leaving Europe.
The 32-year-old right-back joined the Brazilians in 2016 from Belgium giants KRC Genk following the end of his loan spell with Troyes in France.
Speaking in a candid press reader with City Press, the former Bafana Bafana international spoke about how racism from his own coach led to his departure from Genk as well as being approached by both Chiefs and Sundowns simultaneously.
“I have experienced it [racism] from my own coach, Peter Maes at Genk. He led to my departure [in 2016],” Ngconga was quoted as saying.
“The incident that got me upset was during preseason training when I got kicked badly on my ankle in a friendly game and he said: ‘I thought Africans were strong.’ I was like: ‘You say an African can be knocked down by a car and just stand up?’ Our fallout was a big story in the media in Belgium. Honestly Genk were giving me good money and I did not intend to leave the club. But I had no choice because of the attitude and disrespect of the coach.”
Ngongca added on how the fallout with his coach eventually led to him being loaned out to France, before he decided to pack his bags and come back home to South Africa upon his return from the loan spell.
“I was sent on loan to France [at Troyes AC] and when I came back, Maes was still there, but I had already made up my mind [about leaving].
“I got a call from Pitso [Mosimane] who was interested in me joining Sundowns.
“I had also spoken to Chiefs before the call from Sundowns. I spoke to Bobby [Motaung], but in the end I opted for a better offer. I am sorry if I let Chiefs down, but football is a business.”
Following their Telkom Knockout triumph in September last year, the Gugulethu-born full-back still believed they are in with a chance to claim a treble this season, as they are in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup and trail log leaders Chiefs by just four points, with a match in hand and with nine matches still to go.
“It is possible [the treble] because the good thing is that we are well rested this time. And there are no excuses for why we can’t challenge for all the remaining trophies,” he added.
In conclusion, the experienced Masandawana defender also touched on retirement as well as his finances well after his playing days are a thing of the past.
“I still have three years to play. I am 32 and still passionate about the game, while my legs still allow me to go.
“In terms of financial security, I am fortunate to have played in a league like Belgium, where they have a pension fund scheme for players, so it is compulsory to save a portion of your salary. You can access it only once you are 35 or stopped playing.
“It is something I wish South African football would implement.
“Interestingly, I was in touch with my former club Genk this week and also got to check the balance of my fund.
“People are too careful when it comes to conversations about money, but I can tell you that I have 1.2 [R23 million] to secure my family’s future.
“The people in Belgium still want me to return one day and give back to my former club,” he said.