Yesterday brought down the curtain on two faithful servants of football.
They don’t come any better and more loyal than Teko “General” Modise and Siyabonga “Bhele” Nomvethe.
You don’t have to look any further than the number of caps they piled up for Bafana Bafana, with Nomvethe standing at 81 with 16 goals and Modise making 66 appearances, chipping in 10 goals.
All the clubs they played for – from African Wanderers to Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Udinese in the Italian Serie A, Moroka Swallows and AmaZulu for Nomvethe and Ria Stars, City Pillars, SuperSport United, Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City for Modise – benefited from their talent and commitment.
Nomvethe is the epitome of longevity as even this season, at the ripe age of 41, he could still outpace some players who were half his age.
His tireless running on the field and work ethic have been things to marvel at. Let alone his humility and the ability to smile even under the most trying of circumstances.
Modise picked himself up from some misbehaviour that saw him make headlines for all the wrong reasons. He turned his life around, releasing a book, The Curse of Teko Modise, two years ago – something that Bhele should consider doing as he also has an interesting story to tell – and now retires on a high with The Citizens.
The two players are true ambassadors of the game of the pigskin, with a string of trophies but sadly that nemesis of all sportspersons, age, has caught up with them.
We hope others can take a leaf out of their books and retire while still at the top of their game instead of waiting to be booed and jeered off the pitch.
We salute you Bhele and General.