The making of Manyisa

2011-09-17 15:13

The South African soccer fraternity would not have known about Oupa Manyisa, the new Bafana Bafana recruit, had a former teammate not changed his attitude to the game.

Just as Manyisa (23) was about to quit almost five years ago, his home boy Roger Majafa recommended him to the Africa Sport Youth Development Academy in Joburg.

Majafa now plays for Mpumalanga Black Aces in the National First Division.

“I never really took football seriously,” says Manyisa, who was known as Oupakie during his six-year spell at the academy.

“I used to play for PJ Stars when it was still owned by Mike Mangena (former Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows’ striker).

“But when the club earned promotion to the First Division (in the 2004/05 season), I went back home to Randfontein, having decided I was done with soccer.”
 
But everything changed when Majafa – whom Manyisa regards as a future star – took him to the academy, which was founded by former Mamelodi Sundowns’ midfielder Harold “Jazzy Queen” Legodi.

“The academy opened doors for me and many young players who are now with different clubs in the PSL,” he says.

“I was one of the few players who got invited to train with overseas clubs.

“I went to Manchester United twice and visited Blackburn Rovers, as well as Strasbourg and Stade Caen in France.

“It was after these travels that I took soccer seriously. They were a real eye-opener.”

Soccer runs in the Manyisa family. His uncle Thomas “Search” Manyisa used to play for Moroka Swallows.

“I’m told he was one of the finest centre-backs of his generation. He boasts that he was the best in his day,” he says.

Thomas, according to old-timers in Mohlakeng, played alongside the late Kaizer Chiefs’ midfielder, Pule “Ace” Ntsoelengoe, at amateur side Mohlakeng Home Stars in Randfontein.

Manyisa is proud to have inherited the “Ace” nickname given to him by Pirates fans.

“I appreciate the support from the supporters because, in a way, it means the nickname will stay in Randfontein,” he says.

“I have to do good to the name and pick up from where bra Ace Khuse (Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach) and the late Ace Ntsoelengoe left off.”

Despite being in the spotlight, Manyisa says he will stay grounded because “that’s my nature”.

“I rarely go out except occasionally when I hang out with most of the guys I played with at the academy,” he says.

“Otherwise, I’m always indoors hooked up to my PlayStation or watching movies.”

Even his community in Randfontein treat him the same way they did before he became famous.

“Instead, the elders always remind me to be level-headed to achieve more,” he says.

As for his style of play, Manyisa says: “I just go out and enjoy the game. The goals you see are what I have been practising for a long time.

“I always try to perfect my shooting technique, but my coaches (Julio Leal and assistant Teboho Moloi) want to see me taking more shots at goal.”

“I call it my moment of surprise,” he says of his two identical goals that sunk Sundowns in the MTN8 Cup semifinal and Chiefs in the final last Saturday.

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