Thabo Matlaba: I didn’t want the pressure of playing for Kaizer Chiefs after Orlando Pirates


Johannesburg – Black Leopards left-back Thabo Matlaba says he didn’t want to sign for Kaizer Chiefs after leaving Orlando Pirates.

The 32-year-old left Pirates in July 2019, after seven years at the Soweto giants, and was eager to play regularly again, as he had started struggling for game time.

Matlaba decided to move to a ‘smaller’ team and was drawn to the possibility of signing for Maritzburg United, but ended up choosing Leopards after they offered him a better deal.

“To be honest I already decided to go and play for any smaller team in the PSL (when I left Pirates),” Matlaba said.

“Even if Chiefs or any other big team approached me, I was not going to go there. To be honest with you, I wanted to stay at Pirates. But I didn’t want to stay at Pirates not playing, you understand?

“So that is why when they offered me a salary cut and said I must stay at Pirates… but I thought if I stay at Pirates I’m not going to play, then here’s a salary cut. So, the best thing is to leave and go and play football, because that’s what I want.

“So, I heard about rumours of Chiefs, SuperSport (United), I heard about the rumours of Highlands Park you know, but I had already decided that I’m going to a smaller team whether it’s Maritzburg… I wanted to go to Maritzburg to be honest, I wanted to go to coach Eric Tinkler.

“Because you want to go to Chiefs… it’s been long not playing at Orlando Pirates [but] you want to go to Kaizer Chiefs? They’ll expect a lot from you. I know the pressure that comes when you play for the bigger teams. So, I didn’t want to put myself under that pressure.”


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