Lucky bolsters Civics line up
FORMER Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Lucky Maselesele's signing with Civics has instantly bolstered the side in their quest to hunt down the Namibia Premiership title, while it has also positioned them to vie for silverware in domestic cup competitions.
In an interview for the Civics FC website recently, Maselesele, who played for South African-based Kaizer Chiefs for five years, reckons that he can make a contribution to the success of the team.
He was sidelined for the opening matches of the second round after he hat to sit out his two year doping suspension that came to and end on February 15 this year. Maselesele (30), who regards himself as more effective behind the two strikers, said he decided to grab the opportunity to play for the Namibian side as he was offered a contract to play here.
“ There were possibilities to sign for Jomo Cosmos and Thanda Royal Zulu (both SA clubs), but I decided to come to Civics due to the invitation of coach Ali Akan. I also believe that I can get more game time as I needed that after such a long suspension,” he said.
The stocky midfielder, who made his mark for Chiefs, is the first South African ever to relocate from that country to Namibia for professional football. He also played for Thanda Royal Zulu, Manning Rangers, Maritzburg United (where he was suspended) and had a two year contract that only lasted five months with FC AK, clubs which are all from South Africa.
In Europe, he also played for Yanicami FC in Cyprus and helped the team to fight relegation in his first season and led them to a respectable position in mid table, before he left after the end of the second season.
THE PASTAsked about his past and the two year ban, Maselesele, who is based in Klein Windhoek at one of the Civics residences, said that he regretted what happened to him. “I sincerely regret the mistake that I have made for the suspension. It was in one moment that it happened and I never saw it coming. That spoiled my whole image publicly, but for the ones who believed and still believe in me, they still know what type of person I am and they still respect me for that. My disciplines has always been good and all the coaches had never had a problem with me,” he said.
Maselesele was suspended after a a random doping test was carried out and at the time said that he was not aware that he had taken a banned substance. The soft speaking player added that despite being sent to the sidelines for two consecutive years, he never gave up because he knows about his God-given talent and still wanted to prove his worth.
“The chance given to me by Civics is immense and I have taken it up with both hands. I will do my best in the next few games and my main aim is to help this team get the title. In fact, it will be a personal highlight for me to win it and become the first South African in Namibia to do it and I am ever ready to bring my part,” he said.
“Im grateful to God for giving me strength to get me out of this situation. I always remained focused and that experience taught me a lesson. I lost many things (such as a car and a house) but my family supported me throughout. I even enrolled in a business school and at the same time, I kept on training by myself. I went to the gym and played small teams in the neighbourhood on a regular basis,” he said.
Maselesele is a product of the the Football School of Excellence in South Africa which was manned by former Kaizer Chiefs great, Neil Tovey and renowned coach, Ted Dumitru before he got snapped up by Chiefs at the age of 16.
FIRST FOR CIVICSMaselesele however started his first game in the domestic premiership on a low note when Civics went down 3-0 to Blue Boys at the Tamariskia Stadium in mid February. “The coach started me on the bench to assess the game, bit when I got on, I could not salvage it as the damage was already done, but I think I did very well on my debut for Civics as I managed to connect good passes with Heini (Isaacks) and Costa (Khaiseb),” he said.
He played in the next encounter against Hotspurs in the NFA leo Cup which they won on penalties and regarded it as a much better performance. He played the whole 90 minutes.
In his opinion, the quality of Namibian football is reasonably good but believes that much still needs to be done to reach greater heights. “There is room for improvement because there are great individual players and if people who are in charge can invest more in the game a lot can be achieved. Talented players from here can surely get opportunities abroad and get the experience and bring it back home,” he said.
Personally, Maselesele believes football is his life and he chose Namibia as just another country to further his career in the beautiful game. “Soccer is my number one priority. I love it no matter where I play. For me, Namibia is a new challenge and I still think that I have four two five years left in my career and I wish to contribute to the success of any team I play for,” he added.
In fact, Maselesele and two other players from Civics are set to leave for Austria at the end of April for a three week assessment with Sturm Graz, a premiership side in that country.
He regards the respect for his coaches and teammates as paramount as it allows a player to also be disciplined and focused.
“My teammates respect me in the team and I also respect them. We learn from each other and we all know what is expected from all of us. Although there is pressure at the moment because we have to go for the league title, I believe that we are all in the right frame of mind and my role here is to help the team win the league and it will be a bonus if we could also land more silverware along the way,” he said.
He reckons that his experience comes handy at this point in his career and thinks that Civics can make an impact this season. Maselesele has never won the premiership during his days in South Africa, but came second twice with Chiefs, while he won the 2000 Cosafa Under 20 Championships. He also played in the Under 20 World Cup in Malaysia against the likes of Thierry Henry of France and Ronaldinho from Brazil, while back home he scored the winning goal in their 1-0 win in the Vodacom Cup final against Orlando Pirates back in 2000. “Thats when people started knowing Lucky,” he enthused.
He is also known for scoring the winning goal against the same team in the Telkom Charity Cup final. For what the future holds, Maselesele says this is the chance to launch his comeback. “I feel like a reborn player, i fell fresh, feel like a youngster who came back into this big league. I have the hunger and I am willing to work harder and I wish that this opportunity will give me a go at a bigger chance,” he said.
Maselesele does not take any alcohol, nor smokes and had no major injuries or operations thus far. He is married to Lungiswa but has no children yet and regards his wife as a pillar of strength during his career. He currently following a course in Sport management with University of South Africa (Unisa) and aims to complete it in December.