Meet Mike Ntombela
South African soccer legend
Ntombela, the erstwhile Mamelodi Sundowns captain, has seen and done it all as a footballer, coach, player-manager and administrator. During the vicious days of Apartheid, difficulties were the order of the day for black people. Ntombela, who played for Wits University, a predominantly white team in the ’80s, had his fair share of wrestling with the beast of racism. Together with Mike Mangena, they were the only two black players in the team. They also battled with their own, who saw them as sellouts for playing for a so-called ‘white team’.
On his glittering CV, ornamented by accolades such as titles won with Wits and Sundowns, Ntombela is credited with the meteoric rise of Bafana Bafana stars Thulani Serero and Thulani Hlatshwayo. Ntombela’s last employ in professional football was as Sundowns team manager but he is still involved in the game at grassroots, where he is working with Gauteng government to revive soccer at schools’ level.
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