Hollywoodbets team member “Eggs” Benedict Ngwenya interviews Orlando Pirates soccer legend Jerry Sikhosana in our first Facebook Live video.
Learn more about Jerry Sikhosana, or “Legs of Thunder” as he is better known, in this Facebook Live interview below. Watch the video, or read the transcript below. We chat everything, from his rivalry with Brian Baloyi, to taking muti as part of the team culture, and whether he would chose football or his wife. Get this and more below.
JERRY SIKHOSANA INTERVIEW – 14th JULY 2017
Eggs Benedict Ngwenya: We’re live here at Hollywoodbets Umhlanga Team Support with the legendary Jerry Sikhosana. “Sika Ma-Razor”, “Legs of Thunder” it’s such an honour to speak to a legend of your stature, welcome.
Jerry Sikhosana: Thank you, thank you very much for having me today at Hollywodbets offices.
Benedict: Before we had this conversation, yesterday we put up a post asking listeners to send through their questions that they’d like ask to ask you and I’ve got hundreds of them. [All I can say is that they’ve really put you on the spot.]
Jerry: That’s good because people want to know more about me as their legend.
Benedict: And remember, you asked me before we did this interview which team I support, and I told you I’m a Buccanneer for life – not the new Pirates, the old Pirates. The one that beat Chiefs 4-1 in the Bob Save Super Bowl last 16 and you scored three goals [in that match]. Speaking of Chiefs, rumour has it that you grew up supporting that team, how true is that?
Jerry: Yes, it is true. I grew up in a family where everyone was supporting Chiefs the reason being my late uncle had a team which was called Tembisa Santos that was wearing like gold and black. So, gold and black in the family was more of Chiefs colours that’s what they made us support (my mum, myself, brothers, whoever was in the Tiger house) we were more of Chiefs supporters.
Benedict: And is it true that, because I remember there is another league game in which you scored against Chiefs and you used to score against Kaizer Chiefs. Jacob Tshisevhe, Ntsie Maphike and all those defenders… you used to be their worst nightmare. Is it true that you used to take bets with the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper at the time Brian Baloyi before Soweto derbies?
Jerry: Yeah! Brian was my buddy. We grew up together from school and a lot of things happened even before we turned pros. We didn’t even know it could turn to that because from school we used to have that competition in terms of “You’re not going to score[against] me”, “I’ll score” and we even came to Durban to play the Super C Championship in Maritzburg as teammates because we were the Gauteng winners. For me he wasn’t like an enemy. He was more of a brother and a friend. I’m just glad that wherever we meet we feel proud of the legacy we left behind in terms of the derby because each and everyone who thinks of Pirates and Chiefs playing against each other the names Brian Baloyi and Jerry Sikhosana creep up.
Benedict: Can you tell us about the 1995 CAF Champions League final in which you scored the winner against ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan…
Jerry: We played the first leg in Johannesburg at the FNB Stadium. We drew with ASEC Mimosas 2-2 and we were the underdogs. They celebrated as if they’ve already won the cup. On my way home with my wife, when I ws driving on that Saturday night I felt so bad because listening to the radio there were a lot of people criticizing Jerry Sikhosana because I didn’t score on that day. I didn’t have a good game to be honest and they just criticised me and they even said Jerry mustn’t be in the team that will travel to Abidjan and that didn’t sit well with me knowing that I tried my best. Yes, I didn’t have a good game but it was unfair for the supporters especially live on radio to criticise me that much and come Monday I never went to training to be honest with you. Tuesday, I also never went to training and the chairman sent Augusto Palacios who was then the Director of coaching t Orlando Pirates to come and look for me in Tembisa. Yes, he got me and then he told me the chairman wanted to see me to know why am I not in training because the team was leaving on Thursday morning for Abidjan then I told him ‘liik I’m not happy because this and that’ and then he told me the chairman knew about it and then I had to meet that chairman and then I said no if the chairman is really, really serious about this issue he needs to come to Tembisa. You won’t believe this! On Wednesday morning Irvin Khoza himself was knocking at my door and we spoke about it and on Thursday I had to go to the airport, you know, and then I joined the team but obviously my team knew I always put 100% effort and they welcomed me despite not training with them. Travelling to Abidjan was just like a nightmare, we arrived at the airport and the carpet was ASEC Mimosas colours. It wasn’t a red carpet but it was yellow and gold. We were treated well at the airport but teased a lot about the 5 goals we were going to get. The hotel they booked for us was like a hotel full of beds. Luckily enough we were with the chairman himself and we stayed inside the bus for almost two hours while the negotiations were going on with the match commissioner who refused the team to leave the hotel that we were booked for and the chairman insisted, luckily enough we were moved to a 5-star hotel which was called Intercontinental Hotel in Abidjan. We stayed there and training, the chairman was with us in the meetings that we had meetings at the hotel. A whole lot of things happened and for me on that day of the game I can give credit to the chairman because he was more of a coach. He was helping the late Willard Mkhandawire because Joe Frickleton resigned after those comments about me. He resigned, he don’t come with the team…
Benedict: I remember Pirates was coached by three people throughout the course of the tournament: Mike Makaab, Joe Frickleton and Willard Mkhandawire…
Jerry: Playing the game, we were more relaxed. We had the chairman, he told us look we’ve done our best, we’ve put southern Africa on the map by playing the final whch was the first of its kind. We were hyped up and we wanted to play the game for the chairman. If you look at the way we played in the first half it was ASEC Mimosas all over us but give credit to our defence especially William Okpara in goals, Mark Fish, Gavin Lane, Edward Motale and Phiri Tsotestsi. The guys in the middle of the park, remember our captain got a red card (Innocent Mncwango) but the like of the late Clifford Moleko and John Moeti kept things at bay and luckily enough in those dying minutes of the second half I mean sheer brilliance from myself (came to the fore) because I was a lone striker by then. We wanted to close shop and hope for the best and yeah that came and I can’t even remember what happened there. Only when I watch the video I could say was I crazy or what happened to my mind to think that quickly especially away from home and it wasn’t just the two defenders colliding but after my move but also the keeper that came to anticipate and I pushed the ball away. How did I do that and also last but not least the angle from which I scored, it was on my weaker foot, moving away from goalpost but being able to put it back where I come from I mean it was something which I look at and say only the best can do that. It’s not me who did that but it was me and people ask me what happened and I don’t know it just happened. Yeah sheer brilliance and here we are today and I’m proud to point at the star that came courtesy of that goal yes teamwork needs to be credited for that but individual brilliance also played a part.
Benedict: Let’s get into the questions now by our viewers on Facebook. Lungelo Mdladla asking would you like to coach a PSL team one day?
Jerry: Definitely yes. I would love to coach a PSL team one day. As much as presently I’m attending a C-Level coaching badge that I’m busy with now but hopefully by next week I’ll get my qualifications in terms of coaching and I’m more than happy but I’d definitely love to go and coach my beloved team, Orlando Pirates.
Benedict: Wow! That’s amazing and I remember you once coached Tornado FC in the Nedbank Cup against Pirates and we beat you 4-0.
Jerry: (laughs) No. I told the boys they can’t embarrass my team because they were already embarrassed. I said let’s give it to Pirates and we’ll see nest time.
Benedict: Sibonelo Doncabe wants to know why do they call you Legs of Thunder because he believes thunder has no legs. Where does the nickname come from?
Jerry: Yes, thunder has no legs but sometimes we as South Africans are creative especially the media. If the thunder strikes there’s a lot of lightning and if I strike the ball it just goes with that venom so I think the synonymy in terms of how I used to kick the ball came that way because there was thunder in those legs. If that thunder hit anything that thing becomes like a rocket and that’s how I used to bang the ball with power.
Benedict: Who was the toughest defender you’ve ever played against? That question comes from Aaron Crowie.
Jerry: The toughest defenders I’ve ever come against are all the Jomo Cosmos defenders. They were tough, Andrew Rabutla, the late Sizwe Motaung, Gesond Vilakazi. There was a whole lot of them and I’ve forgotten the other guys but look, you come across any Cosmos defender you are in for it.
Benedict: Would you say you’ve met some defenders who used intimidatory tactics on you? Things like talking to you off the ball and telling to you they’re going to break your legs.
Jerry: Truly, truly all the defenders were like that. They would talk and on the sensitive part sometimes they would talk about my facial appearance and try to take me off the game but I think and believe that that’s what made me stronger. I wanted to prove a point I was always on top because I never got an injury that took me out of the game as a result of being tackled, I was strong enough to stand my ground.
Benedict: Dumsani Mlambo Kitimisana wants to know which team you follow in the PSL. I guess it’s Pirates.
Jerry: Obviously Pirates. My blood is black, my heart is white and I’m red and I mean Orlando Pirates.
Benedict: Which teammate did you share a room with in camp?
Jerry: Mostly I shared a room with Helman Mkhalele. Yes, sometimes we would change but I think he’s the person because my first camp at Pirates I was sharing with Helman and even in Abidjan I ws sharing with him but sometimes I would share a room with William Okpara.
Benedict: Is it true that you told Joseph Ngake to sell his Citi Golf and you said it’s a bicycle during your time at Orlando Pirates. That question comes from Backer Sello Mjandane.
Jerry: No. Definitely not, definitely not. Sometimes we’d tese each other but you know when somebody relates a story to his buddies they take it the other way round. Just toe tease each other we’d talk about the cars that we were driving, you know, boasting as players but it wasn’t personal. It was just like teasing each other. We had Eddie Motale who was always driving a BMW 328, I had to go and buy one because I wanted to, so yeah.
Benedict: Alright, how do you feel about this Pirates team that is doing so badly? What do you think Dr Irvin Khoza should do? That one comes from Mthoko Mtho.
Jerry: Well, I just feel bad about the team’s current performance. Obviously when I come across supporters as a legend I get asked about the inner side of the team which I know about. I’m not even close to the team but it breaks my heart to answer for things that I’m not closed to. Mybe guys like Benson Mhlongo and the other assistant coach JazzyQueen Legodi can answer better because they’re in the thick of things. So for me it becomes a problem but I think the chairman needs to stand up and talk to the players because that used to happen to us. If we lose a game we know in our last camp the chairman will be there to talk to us or we’ll be called to the office, the whole team with the coaches. Everyone was involved at Pirates, the chairman would come and just put his words and I’m telling you when we hear that voice we get scared because the Iron Duke has spoken.
Benedict: Ntombenhle Nto Mpanza says Jerry can you please come back and teach our strikers how to score or come back to the field. You can do better than them, that’s a request.
Jerry: No, definitely not doing better than them because the legs are no longer there only the mindset is. Yeah, coming to coach them or showing them how it’s done in terms of striking force and the mentality as an Orlando Pirates striker, well that one I’m definitely sure I’d do it one day if given a chance and I’d love to one day at least help the team.
Benedict: @sports_movement on Twitter says what a heart-breaking season for Orlando Pirates. What do you think should be the permanent change to the team to bring back the glory days? I think you’ve already answered that one.
Benedict: Bhekimpilo Nxumalo asks how do you feel about Pirates deploying some former rival legends at crucial positions, overlooking former Pirates legends? I think he’s talking about the likes of Rowen Fernandez being the goalkeeper coach, Muhsin Ertugral last season was given the head coaching position and Bradley Carnell was the assistant coach and he’s a former Kaizer Chiefs legend so how do you feel about that?
Jerry: Well, yeah I feel bad about it because if you look at the culture of most of the teams all over the world legends that coach the teams know the culture of the teams. I mean, Luis Enrique was a player at Barcelona, Guardiola used to be a player at Barcelona and now you’ve got Zidane at Real Madrid and he’s doing well. It all goes like people who’ve done it, people who’ve worn that jersey and they know what it means to wear that jersey. So for me I hope one day they will realise that the likes of Teboho Moloi were good enough to be on the Pirates bench because players used to perform because he knew the culture of the team and I’m not singling Benson Mhlongo out but I still feel and believe Benson is not the right candidate to be on the Pirates bench. Yes he’s a legend on his own capacity…
Benedict: Sundowns legend?
Jerry: You know, Bidvest Wits legend, Platinum Stars as well and the way he left Pirates there was a lot of fighting…
Benedict: I remember he had to sign some document which said he couldn’t play football anymore because he was injured.
Jerry: Yes, and then he went to do well with Platinum Stars. Whatever that he said about Pirates on his back but maybe this is not a team that you can just turn your back on and come back and hope things will be fine.
Benedict: Themba on Twitter asking which strikers would you sign if you were a coach at Orlando Pirates?
Jerry: The strikers that are on form. Any striker that is on form. I was signed because I was scoring goals at Witbank Aces and this is what we want. Look around, look for the players that you feel and believe are good enough to play for Pirates. You can’t just have any Tom Dick and Jerry in the team and hope that they will change drastically. It takes a lot form a player to be a striker at Pirates. You need to have the likes of Benni McCarthys, the last Lesley Manyathela, the Jery Sikhosanas, Lebo Ngakes I mean you need character and that’s the type of strikers I’d go for in the market.
Benedict: Neal Collins on Twitter @nealcol. Yes, Thee Neal Collins.
Jerry: (smiles) the one and only.
Benedict: He asks, did Orlando Pirates have a striker coach in your days and have you considered doing that job next season? Coaching strikers at Pirates.
Jerry: Definitely! I’d love to do that job. I’d really, really, really love to do that job at Pirates and I happened to have a chance one day when they were playing the semi-final of the CAF Confederations Cup to meet Thamsanqa Gabuza and Kermit Erasmus by then we were just doing a video with the Orlando Pirates web page just to tell the people that the two Pirates strikers are with a legendary striker and that was the only time I met the Pirates strikers because I was called but really what happened afterwards is history. At one stage, I was told I can not come and watch the Pirates team train as a Legend. I was chased away from the field and I was told I wasn’t welcome so I hope with my coaching badges I will be able to get inside, maybe.
Benedict: Banele Pikwa on Twitter asking what do you think of the PSL standard, as a whole?
Jerry: The PSL has grown. I mean the competition is now more of what people want to see, not always Pirates and Chiefs because they think they’re the so-called big guns. After we’ve seen the like of Cape Town City what they did in terms of pushing everyone to the limit, Bidvest Wits winning it in the last dying minutes and also you look at Sundowns busy schedule without any rest but they’re still performing and they belong in the PSL. We also need to make sure that the teams that are in the bottom like Baroka FC having another lease of life need to come to the party and make sure they take that competition to the level where everyone needs to come and watch because we need the people to come to the stadiums not just to say that I’m going to just watch a boring game let me just sit and watch on TV. We need people that will go to the stadiums because the game is so exciting. Lastly I have to apologise to Oscarine Masuluke, Baroka goalkeeper for [his strike] not being chosen as the Goal of the Season. I feel bad and you could even tell when Siphiwe “Shabba” Tshabalala was announced that no one was happy about it. I think the goal that he scored against Orlando Pirates all over the world deserves some accolades.
Benedict: I think it will be nominated for the Puskas Award that’s my personal opinion.
Jerry: Definitely, it will. You can look at the time and who scored it and and how he scored it (acrobatically). The are a lot of factors that you can put like the goalkeeper moving away from his 18-area to the other side. Look, I feel bad about it because he deserves something out of that goal.
Benedict: Can we talk about muti in South African football, did you ever have to obey the rules of any of the teams that you played for maybe that was using muti? Have you ever been in that situation where you had to use muti because your team had to?
Jerry: I definitely did, I definitely did use muti and a lot because before you sign at Orlando Pirates they would tell you to follow each and every procedure that will be given to you and even the white people you can’t believe, I can’t get in to details but things we used to do with the white okes the likes of Mark Fish, Gavin Lane and all the white okes you can’t believe they were like we’ve signed a contract there’s no way we can (refuse). Yu know that shows passion of the players then because other guys wouldn’t do what those guys were doing. If you have in daylight to be naked somewhere in the bush and people are just driving past I mean no white oke can do that. For us blacks we do understand but they had to do it. They had to do everything that happened at the hotel like waking up at 3:30 to do some rituals. Look, if you signed at Pirates and you’re going to play for this team it takes a lot, it takes a heart, not just getting a contract and then relax and get your money. We used to work for this team and we did everything. I arrived at AmaZulu trying to save them, same procedure. We had to go through a lot of things that were happening in terms of muti. Yeah, we do believe in muti but unfortunately we lost a lot of games using muti so I don’t know if muti works or not.
Benedict: What else did I wanna ask you? Who was the naughtiest player in the Orlando Pirates quad?
Jerry: Eh, the naughtiest player, if it wasn’t me. Oh you say the naughtiest not troublesome? It’s a different area.
Benedict: you can tell us who was the most troublesome
Jerry: Just joking. Let’s not go there. I think the naughtiest of them all was Brice Ramokgadi. Yes, not known that much but those who know Pirates will know him.
Benedict: He was a youngster when you were about to leave the team.
Jerry: He was naughty. Everytime he would tease and do everything because he was energetic. Unfortunately he wasn’t in the starting line up most of the time but hey he was troublesome as well.
Benedict: Mh alright, are there any incidents that you’d like to discuss?
Jerry: I don’t know which incident you’d like me to start with. You know I can give you a whole lot of… a book like this umh (sighs) which incident can I just put in? Ok, there was atime when Orlando Pirates unveiled a coach who was from Nigeria, Shuaibu Amodu. As usual, Jerry Sikhosana is late for training and everyone knows this guy is coming and when tjis guy comes… the previous coaches alwayssay hey Jerry come, come, come in without any problem because they knew he(Jerry) was like a top goalscorer, he was like a hardworker, and at training I’d give my best and now I arrive late and my car, my BMW Cabriolet (is playing) loud music and all the players now knew Jerry was coming. They were seated down and then I parked my car and they were in the field and then I get a quick change in the dressing room and I come running. As I was about to approach the players because all the players were laughing and the coach was like why are they laughing. He turned and then boom! “Sorry who are you?” he is asking me who are you and then I’m like… I’m looking at the guys and they’re laughing, all the guys, all the players are laughing and doing all of this and they knew how arrogant I was and I go like “you’re asking me who I am? Who are you?” and everybody just burst in laughter, even the team manager the late Laurence Ngubane was laughing on the side because they knew what kind of person I was especially when I enter the field I take no prisoners. Now the coach was like “Yeah, now I remember, you are the Jerry Sikhosana they warned me about in the office. The chairman told me about you”. Then I said “If he told you about me what about the rest of the team? Who’s another player that you know by name here?” And it was like fun and after that we got along. At one stage we went to play Chiefs in Mmabatho and he told me “you’re not going to play but you must come with the team” and then I said “ok I’ll see you in camp” and I never pitched up in camp. They left in the morning and then he sent guys from Nigeria who were living in Kempton Park, they were supporting him in his first game against Chiefs. It was a friendly game in Mmabatho and then he sent them to come pick me up. He paid for everything and even gave me money because when they played Chiefs all the supporters ask where is Jerry.
Benedict: We all wanted to see you against Chiefs.
Jerry: Because when they arrived in Mmabatho Jerry was not in the team and when they were going in the malls to promote the game Pirates fans were there and they wanted to see Jerry. He was forced to tell people to go pick me up and he even called, Lawrence called too. He said “come man. Come jerry please bail the coach out” and I said “let him stay like that” and the guys from Nigeria came with their accent and I said “ok it’s fine” and Willy Okpara was saying “please man let’s go” and then I went with them. He asked me to go and sit with him on the bench but I wasn’t dressed to play and he said “please Jerry can you fake an injury. Just walk like you’re injured” it really happened, I’m telling you and I had to do that for him.
Benedict: Before we wrap up the interview I’m just gonna ask you four questions which are going to determine whether we remain friends or not.
Jerry: No problem
Benedict: Chiefs or Sundowns? Answer within three seconds, Chiefs or Sundowns?
Jerry: About what?
Benedict: Just choose one.
Benedict: What! Ok, Messi or Ronaldo?
Benedict: Well done. Good choice. Your wife or football?
Jerry: Football. I’ve already got my wife (flashing the ring) and I got her through football.
Benedict: Manchester United or Liverpool?
Jerry: Man U!
Benedict: Glory! Glory! Man United!
Jerry: Man U!
Benedict: Thank you. It was such a pleasure chatting to you.
Jerry: Thank you.