Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana player Masilo Modubi is the forgotten man of South African football, but is making a name for himself as a coach in Belgium.
He guides the fortunes of Kesk Leopoldsburg – a third-tier team.
The former defensive midfielder spoke to City Press a few days ago about his time in Europe.
This place is home
“This is my first season coaching Leopoldsburg, but I’ve been coaching for almost two years now. Before that, I coached youth teams and some people were so impressed they started calling me the African Pep Guardiola,” he said.
“Life is good over here and I call this place home now. My wife and kids are here too,” the former Ria Stars player revealed.
The Seshego-born Modubi, alongside former national team defender Jeffrey Ntuka and midfielder Simphiwe “Boy Boy” Mosia made headlines in the early 2000s, when he joined English Premier League giants Chelsea.
The trio were promising youngsters when they were scouted from the Transnet School of Excellence in the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
Ntuka had a stint in Europe before returning to the Premier Soccer League to play for Kaizer Chiefs in 2009 and later SuperSport United. He was stabbed to death in 2012, aged 26.
Mosia returned home in 2008 to join Mpumalanga Black Aces after an unsuccessful spell with numerous clubs in Europe. He faded from the limelight and died last year after he collapsed while with friends. He was 31-years-old.
Modubi said he was saddened by the deaths of Ntuka and Mosia, who were like brothers to him.
Handled the situation
“I knew them since our early days at the School of Excellence and we shared great memories. However, I’ve learnt not to question life, especially in circumstances where I lose someone close because it’s something we don’t have control over".
Modubi never kicked a ball in an official game in England. He was loaned to Belgian club Westerlo as a raw 18-year-old, after failing to obtain a licence to play for the Blues.
Asked what would have happened had he received the licence, the coach said: “I honestly don’t know. In my heart I know I fought hard, but things just did not gel. I’m just proud of how I handled the whole situation and my career as a whole".
The 32-year-old admits that he doesn’t have a great record, having managed to play just over 100 games in 12 years due to a recurring hamstring injury.
Modubi retired three years ago after his relationship with Dessel Sport ended. He now plans to obtain a Uefa coaching licence and hopes to give back to Mzansi in future.