Maselesele works a lucky break off the pitch

2012-01-28 15:56

Life after football is a struggle for many. But not so for former South African youth international Lucky “Romario” Maselesele.

The former Premier Soccer League and South African international player is reaping the fruits of preparing for life after a football career.

The 30-year-old has thrown in the towel in his bid to make a comeback to the game after almost four years in the wilderness.

His football playing career went downhill after he tested positive for benzoylecgonine – a ­metabolite of cocaine – in ­November 2008.

He was banned for two years and upon serving his sentence, he travelled the length and breath of the country – and Namibia – searching for a club.

When City Press visited him this week, he turned up wearing a grey shirt, black tie and black pants with sharp-pointed black shoes to kick off the corporate look.

He is now events coordinator for Kaelo Group, a consulting and business services firm in Woodmead, north of Johannesburg.

“Some of my duties here are to assist our clients to get maximum exposure for their brands at events. This is in the form of roadshows and outdoor branding,” said the former SA Under-20 marksman.

“I also conduct life skills programmes on behalf of some of our clients like Metropolitan Life, who are involved in school sport through the SA Schools Under-19 tournament.”

Maselesele said it was sheer luck that he met his current boss, Kelvin Watt.

At the time, he was coaching juniors at private schools in Sandton and one of his players happened to be Watt’s son. The relationship between the two grew significantly and the company is now paying for Maselesele’s marketing studies.

In fact, “Romario”, as he was popularly known, said he used his two-year banishment from the game to further his studies.

“When I joined (FC) Civics in Namibia, I requested them to buy me a laptop and to pay my signing-on-fee into my sports management course with Unisa.

“I was able to go all the way until I received my diploma. Now I’ve enrolled for a course in marketing,” he added.

Watt senior has described Maselesele’s journey as “incredible” and his company – which also specialises in publishing – is helping the now officially retired player to pen a book on his life story.

Maselesele came through the ranks with the Safa Transnet Football School of Excellence. He later became one of the first players from the academy to be afforded a chance to train with FC Barcelona in Spain and later went on to train with Ajax Amsterdam in Holland.

Kaizer Chiefs gave him the taste of Premiership football in the 1997/98 season.

Maselesele spent much of his time at Amakhosi on loan. Some of his former clubs include Seven Stars, AmaZulu, Black Leopards, FC AK (in the National First Division) and Maritzburg United where he met his fate.

He still maintains his innocence with regards to testing positive for a banned substance:
“I am asthmatic and I have never taken drugs in my life.”

Are there other former sports people who have switched their careers? Let us know at sports@citypress.co.za 

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