Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates were involved in a rare modern day signing tug-of-war back in 2007.

It is common for Chiefs and Pirates to compete for the same player, but usually ends up conceding. 

This time around, both Chiefs and Pirates were adamant that they had signed one of the most promising talents. That was in the shape of a young striker in Siphelele Mthembu. Ahead of the 2007/08 season Amakhosi thought they had unearthed a gem from Maritzburg City as the young target man joined them for pre-season. This was only until the Buccaneers would come calling, claiming he had signed with them before anyone else. 

After a long dispute, Mthembu eventually had to go to Pirates and leave his beloved Chiefs. This was a moment he recalls brought him to tears. 

Pirates got the decision

“I wanted to be with Chiefs because when I was young I loved the club and my family as well [supported the club]. And when I got there, I was convinced that wouldn’t be my end, I thought I would have an opportunity to go overseas. I came from a family where no one bought a car, no one built a house and no one ever went to varsity.

All those things played in my head and I had to sacrifice [my love of being at Chiefs] That’s a decision or sacrifice I took that it’s no longer about me but the mother that lived in a house that had glassless windows. I wanted to change the situation at home. As much as it was painful, I had to do it for my family so they could be at peace as well. I was new in this game but I had to encounter scandals that I couldn’t understand.” Said Mthembu to FARPost.

But upon joining Pirates, Mthembu went AWOL running back to Chiefs in tears.

Ran back to Chiefs crying

“It was hard [when I left Chiefs], I think I cried that night because I didn’t want that to happen. All I wanted was to play football. I went to Pirates but I ran away again and I went home. I got a call saying, ‘If you want to play football come. If you don’t want to play football anymore, you’ll be suspended for three years.’ I didn’t know anything about suspension and I just wanted to be at Chiefs. So I spoke to Bobby and Kaizer [the Motaungs]. Credit must go to them, they sat me down and told me these things happen in football. They said just go and enjoy football, if you come back again, you will come back again.” Said Mthembu. 

Mthembu would eventually join Chiefs as a free agent in the 2015/16 season. He also scored against Pirates in a Soweto Derby victory that season.


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