Guest post by Sandile Mazibuko
Not many South African football passionate fans remember the name Philani Kubheka. But the few that does, remember him in the black and white coloures of Orlando Pirates. Kubheka left South Africa in the 2001/02 season to join Vietnamese outfit Binh Doung FC after continuous frustrating spells on the sidelines during his time at Orlando Pirates.
With 10-years already gone since his departure, ‘Butterfly’ , as Kubheka is affectionaly known in his home town, the village called Bhethani in Bergville, Northern KZN, one wonders what has kept him away from his motherland this long.
At age 33, Kubheka is currently enjoying his second season as captain of Becamex Binh Duong Football Club and is known to be a fan favourite and he is the side’s most reliable player.
“Very quick, skillful and strong, probably the most disciplined player I’ve ever come across.” Says Hleza Mofedi, a former teammate of Kubheka at Pirates.
“I still find it hard to believe that he’s never turned out for Bafana, but I understand the league he plays in is not so popular. Philani (Kubheka) is a world class player and I have no doubt about that. Pity he wasn’t given a fair chance during his time at Pirates. And I think he has the capability to play till his late 30’s and may even get to 40 because he was also much disciplined and he live the life of a true athlete. The last time we spoke he told me he no longer plays down the wing but instead he is used as the second striker, a ‘number-10’, I think the reason for that was because of the way he kills the ball, that man can shoot the ball.” Mofedi continues to describe Kubheka.
Not a lot of players have something to fall back on once their careers loom, but the same cannot be said about Kubheka. While he experienced a frustrating spell on the Pirates bench, he decided to extend his career options and studied Business Management, Marketing and other business related courses at the University of South Africa.
And such qualification provides him with options as retirement is not far away. Kubheka already owns a large piece of land with large amounts of livestock’s. He has also started investments in property all around South Africa.
“He is truly a remarkable individual, whom I refer a lot to when advising the youngsters. It took a man’s nerve to decide to leave the PSL and go all the way to Vietnam, and a lot of hard work to be the person he is today”, adds Mofedi.
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