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‘I Knew There Were Issues Between Me And The Coach’

Ramahlwe Mphahlele says that it was his mental strength that kept him motivated after he found himself sidelined at Kaizer Chiefs during the 2019/2020 season.

The current Amakhosi captain was speaking to Velile Mnyandu in Edition 8 of iDiski Times, and told Mnyandu that he had to be strong and was grateful for his good support system during a trying time.

Mphahlele only featured in six games during the 2019/20 league campaign under Ernst Middendorp, and the 29-year-old defender admits their were issue between him and Chiefs’ former coach.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns defender says it was thanks to that good support that he was able to stay mentally strong, and not go off the rails like many other players have done in similar situations in the past.

“Last season was hard you know, the only thing that saved me maybe was my mental strength,” Mphahlele told iDiski Times.

“I had to be very strong and obviously, I had good support around me, people who supported me and kept encouraging me to keep on going, so compared to this season where I’m more involved, which is good, because every player needs to play and especially at my age, you need to play as much as you can.” 

“Because we know football, football it’s a very short career. And we get into football because of the love of football, not because of money, fame, or whatever else. So as long as I’m playing and I’m helping the team, I’m happy.” 

“I had very honest people around me, my family was there, my kids and my partner was there for me, to support me, and they were very supportive. My brothers, my mom, and most importantly, my teammates, Leo (Castro), Khama (Billiat), all these guys, (Willard) Katsande.”

“They kept me going, they told me, ‘look, bro, we know what you can do. And it’s not like, you’re not playing because you’re not good enough’. I knew there was issues between me and the coach (Ernst Middendorp), there was a lot of issues… In my career, I’ve never been called to a coach’s office before to say, ‘why did you do this?’ But under the previous coach, I’ve been called into the office in a space of two months, like four times to say this and that.”

“Off the pitch I just kept on strengthening myself mentally through reading, talking to sports psychologists, because it’s easy for players to self-destruct when things are not going well. It’s easy for players to start taking drugs, it’s easy for players to start indulging in alcohol and just going off rail and say, ‘my career is not going well.’”

You can find the full engrossing interview between Velile Mnyandu and Ramahlwe Mphahlele in Edition 8 of iDiski Times.

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