Off the pitch with Mbongeni

This week we caught up with Mbongeni ‘Kati’ Mzimela who opens up about rumours to leave, his intimate values on life and his goals for the upcoming season.

AmaZulu FC: You are one of the longest serving players at AmaZulu FC, what are some of the changes that you have experienced?
Mbongeni Mzimela:
There have been a lot of improvements, in terms of the standard at our offices. Before the office and the club house were combined. We now train at Moses Mabhida, we have all the resources that other professional teams have. It’s so great, we are now a respected team while before the other teams didn’t have respect for us and they always expected a win when they were playing with us. Even the younger generation of fans supports our games; we are now a team with dignity.

AFC: Rumours once sufficed that you wanted to leave the club since you were not getting game?
Last season was very challenging for me since I didn’t get much game time. That is frustrating to any player. I was obviously unhappy but the support from teammates and the technical team convinced me to stay and stick it out. AmaZulu is my team, and it is hard for me just to detach myself from a team that showed me that they believe in me.

AFC: So what are your plans for the upcoming season?
Obviously fight for a chance to play in the team with the hard work that I will put in and reward the faith showed in me. Hopefully contribute towards the team securing some sort of silverware since it’s been a long time the team won anything.

AFC: What are some of the great memories that you have about your career?
It has to be the day I made my debut in 2007/2008 season playing against Orlando Pirates where we won 1-0. I played so well and was so proud of clinching a clean sheet. In that season we also completed on 8th position and made it into the top 8 while Clive Barker was still head coach.    

AFC: What are some of your most interesting trips in your career?
My call up to Bafana Bafana when we went to play in Egypt. That was also an interesting time and one of the best opportunities I’ve had. I got to compete with respected players and it was my first time seeing a country with no traffic lights.

AFC: Did that travelling experience change your perspective on South Africa?
Yes it did, I started to appreciate every infrastructure and resources that our country has. I am so grateful to be a South African.

AFC: What are some of the challenges that keepers face?
I will say competing with other goalkeepers and not playing regularly. Being a goalkeeper is not like being an in-field player. They have a chance to play different positions but it is impossible to get that chance if you are a keeper.

AFC: What are some of your greatest achievements as a footballer?
The ability to invest in properties and as well as in business that I hope will maintain me after football.

AFC: Who do you model your game to in local and international goal keepers?
Ex-Germany captain and goal keeper, Oliver Kahn and locally it was Brian Baloyi.

AFC: What are your beliefs about religion and tradition?
I do believe in God but I also believe in ancestors and practicing traditional ceremonies for my late forefathers.

AFC: What are your views on polygamy?
Well I don’t think that there is anything wrong with polygamy as Zulu man or any other person, if someone can afford to look after his children and his wives than why not?

AFC: Would you consider practicing it?
(Chuckles). No, I won’t. At the moment I can only afford to look after one woman and I have paid Lobola for her.

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