Golden Oldies: Walter Mabeba
Tuesday May 09 2006
The Moroka Swallows website introduces the 'Golden Oldies' column, where we will be going down memory lane and celebrating the rich history of one of the country's oldest soccer clubs. This week, we speak to former Swallows central defender Walter Mabeba, who played for Swallows between 1985 and 1987.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN:
I joined Swallows at the end of September 1985, after a soccer journalist named Meshack Motloung saw me play at the famous Godfrey Moloi Summer Games. Motloung recommended me to the club - it was a break I had desperately been looking for.
MABEBA WAS THEN INVITED FOR TRIALS AND IMPRESSED AFTER TWO WEEKS OF TRIALS:
It was a big step from playing for my local club, Mapetla Youth United, to joining a team as big as Swallows.
The team was then coached by the tactical Chilean Mario Tuani, who was assisted by Angelo Tschiclas. This partnership did a great job in moulding the squad into a strong and feared team. In that year Swallows did well to reach the semi-finals of the Mainstay Cup; where we lost to a rampant, Ernest 'Wire' Chirwali-led Bloemfontein Celtic.
THE JPS FINAL:
The Tuani and Tschiclas combination was to leave the club in the middle of the 1986 season.
Rodney Bush and Goona Padayachee, who were both players in the team, took over and bode themselves very well as we managed to reach the JPS Cup Final in 1986.
We played really well, but lost to Kaizer Chiefs (2-1 on aggregate) in the second leg match played at the Ellis Park Stadium. Back then supporters used to pack the grounds and I wish they would do the same today.
I am really honoured to have been able to play with the likes of Roney Mashego - who was also my team-mate at United - William 'Khura' Makhura, Andries 'Chaka Chaka' Mpondo, Sullie Bhamjee, Andries 'Panyaza' Chitja, and many more other stars.
JOMO AND THE SHIN GUARDS:
During those days a lot of professional players did not really use shin guards as it was not mandatory, but I used to wear them all the time. I remember current Jomo Cosmos owner, Jomo Sono, asking me if they were not heavy for me. I guess he won't ask that today as players are getting mowed heavily in the PSL!
BIRDS STILL FLYING HIGH:
I believe that the current squad is destined for great things in the future. They are on the right track towards the club's former glory, but it takes time.
They won the ABSA Cup in the not too distant past and they have been in the top eight ever since Gavin Hunt took over. There was a time when Swallows was really down, but I think they are rebuilding well at the moment.
CLICK HERE to view some 'Golden Oldies' images from the Swallows photo archive.
Mabeba is currently a soccer journalist who provides his services to the PSL website - as a match reporter - and also writes regularly for local soccer publications, Soccer Laduma and e-Diski.