You haven’t won till you sink the ball – Hodgson

2012-05-05 19:19

England’s new manager’s words have inspired Nomvethe ever since 2001

Moroka Swallows sharpshooter Siyabonga Nomvethe has credited Roy Hodgson as being among the international coaches who moulded him into the mature striker he is today.

Although he didn’t enjoy regular game time under Hodgson at Udinese in Italy, “Bhele” nonetheless remembers the wise words of the man who this week was unveiled as England’s new national team coach.

“Roy once said to me ‘football is like a pool game where you haven’t won until you sink the black ball’, meaning that he expected his players to score to win,” he recalled.

Nomvethe worked with the former Liverpool coach in his debut season in the Serie A in 2001.

Hodgson arrived at Udinese having just won the league and cup double with Sibusiso Zuma at FC Copenhagen in Denmark.

“He was a patient man and I remember he gave me space to settle in my first season in Italy. But he always expected his players to deliver on the field. He said we must not be afraid to take risks for the benefit of the team. This is something I apply in my game even today.”

Nomvethe and Zuma are not the only links Hodgson had with South Africa. He came here to play soccer in the 70s and supplemented his income by teaching and coaching the school team at Pretoria’s Hillview High School.

Here he coached future stars Noel Cousins and Roy Wegerle, who later represented the US in two World Cups and also played for Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers in England.

These days, 34-year-old Nomvethe is the hottest striker in the Absa Premiership, displaying the best form since his return for good to the country in the 2009/10 season.

Nomvethe, the former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates striker, recently became the first player to net a hat-trick in the league this season.

He scored all the goals in the Birds’s 3-2 win over Golden Arrows last weekend. His goals, 18 in 28 Premiership matches, are made of four sets of braces and the threesome from last Sunday.

He scored twice against Black Leopards on Friday evening.

The SA under-23 joint leading scorer of all time (with Bongani Ndulula) with 15 goals, also paid tribute to all his former local mentors, including his current coach, Gordon Igesund.

“In Europe, the lessons I learnt were that I must be patient, listen carefully to instructions and know my opponents very well.”

Since he joined Swallows from Aalborg in Denmark two seasons ago, Bhele has never failed in his duty as a striker.

He was Swallows’ top scorer in the last two seasons, having banged in 12 goals in 19 games in his first season and netted the same tally in 28 appearances in the last campaign, achievements recorded in all competitions.

The KwaMashu-born player is now in line to scoop the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award as he leads the top scorers chart by a clear five goals. 

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