‘Ruba’ not a fader ?from Upington

2009-08-26 09:21

FREE State Stars’ Ruben Cloete is arguably one of the most underrated

midfield players in the Absa Premiership.

Such could be attributed to Cloete’s modest nature and the fact that he is

plying his trade at an unfashionable club like Ea Lla Koto.

While few have taken notice, it’s a different story for the community of

Pabalelo township in Upington.

“Ruba,” as the 27-year-old is known to his peers, is hailed as the pride of

the Northern Cape dorpie.

But it is still early days to say the same about another Upington boy,

Rudiger Gilbert, a defender-cum-midfield player with the newly promoted

Mpumalanga Black Aces.

In his debut match midweek against Moroka Swallows, Gilbert managed to score

a goal.

Before Cloete and Gilbert, there was Abram Izaks and Morne Visser, who also

hail from Upington. The two made their mark at club and national youth levels.

However, instant fame and off-field temptations seemingly got the better of the


At his peak, midfielder Izaks was a regular in the now-defunct Manning

Rangers and Swallows’ line-ups while Visser was tipped for stardom at Cape

Town-side Santos and made the cut into the national Under-23 team.

Sadly, Visser confessed to City Press last year that he was hooked on drugs.

Similarly, Izaks also confessed that his career crumbled due to his love for


In contrast, Cloete, who made his Premiership debut in the 2003/04 season, is

on the straight and narrow.

Prior to his move to the Free State, the midfielder featured in just 46

matches in the four seasons he spent at Santos.

It was only last season that he saw regular action and came just four games

short of playing full 30 Premiership matches.

“It is a good feeling that I am representing Upington in a positive way.

Nothing is really happening there hence I left home for greener pastures.

“Crime is not that much but poverty, drugs and alcohol abuse are rife,” said

the Stars’ Players Player of the Year of last season.

“I have always set high standards for myself but I leave it to other people

to judge me. I live by one motto ‘It’s not about how you fall, it’s how you

rise’. That keeps me prepared to accommodate success and still be able to deal

with disappointments along the way.”

While he played the full 90 minutes for Stars in the MTN8 first-round fixture

and a league tie against Bloemfontein Celtic, Cloete was conspicuous by his

absence in Stars’ 1-1 draw against Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday.

“I twisted my knee at training but the doctor has given me the green light

ahead of our next game,” he revealed.

He was hopeful that he would lace up his colourful boots against Mamelodi

Sundowns at Super Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Other Absa Premiership fixtures on Wednesday:

Golden Arrows vs Platinum Stars (Chatsworth Stadium, 3pm); Jomo Cosmos vs

Black Aces (Germiston), Maritzburg United vs AmaZulu (Woodburn), Swallows vs

Orlando Pirates (Dobsonville), Kaizer Chiefs vs Bidvest Wits (Orlando), Celtic

vs SuperSport United (Seisa Ramabodu), Ajax vs Santos (Newlands).

All matches kick-off at 7.30pm.

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