One on one with Donnely

2016-01-27 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIED  Renaldo Donnely.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED Renaldo Donnely.

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EIGHT years ago everybody thought that another soccer star had been born in local soccer­ circles when Renaldo Donnely appeared in the amateur ranks for Maritzburg and District Football Associations­ (MDFA) team Lions, but things suddenly faded for him.

JERRY BARNES (JB) tracked him down and chatted to him.

JB: Renaldo, thank you again for giving me time to chat to you. How are you doing - it has been a long time.

Renaldo Donnely (RD): It’s nice to see you again and I will be available to chat to you anytime.

JB: The first time I met you was more than 10 years ago and you played with my son, Carl, for Lions, owned by Neil Tommy, which was under MDFA.

What a season you guys had. I attended the majority of your games and when you guys played for the U12, U15 and U17, you were just marvellous to watch and you won almost every game.

RD: Yes, Mr Tommy really loved all his junior teams and treated everybody the same. He was committed, we were happy, that’s why we dominated most of the competitions.

JB: I met you when you played for Lions, but which other amateur sides did you play for?

RD: I also played for Barcelona, Maritzburg City and Sobantu Shooting Stars.

JB: Which was your first team in your early soccer career?

RD: It all started at Lions. That team, or let me say Mr Niel Tommy and his family, produced a lot of players­.

JB: After Lions, where did you go?

RD: I joined Eastwood’s Barcelona for a season before joining Maritzburg United Junior Academy.

I also did stints with Maritzburg City, Sobantu Shooting Stars and last season Royal Eagles in the national first division­.

JB: You also made it briefly into the professional ranks when you joined Maritzburg United. How many seasons did you play there?

RD: I was there for three seasons and was promoted by Ernst Middendorp there in 2010.

I am very grateful to the coach and to United management for giving me a chance.

JB: I thought you were coming up nicely and working hard to please the coach, but what happened, how come you left Maritzburg United?

RD: As a youngster fresh out of high school, I was eager to impress and do well for my hometown club. I wanted to repay the faith and belief shown to me by the club and the coaching staff. I was willing to learn and make the most of the opportunity granted to me.

I also worked under coach Ian Palmer. Both coaches helped me immensely in making the switch from the academy. I left Maritzburg United after my contract came to an end.

JB: I remember your parents were not happy with a few things when you were with Maritzburg United, what exactly happened there?

RD: At the time my parents didn’t fully understand the game and the demands of professional football.

As their son they wanted me to play all the time, but that was not possible. They never had a problem or issue with the club, it was just a concern as parents.

As a family we still support the team and I owe a lot to the club.

RD: What are you currently doing or who are you playing for, are you going­ to make it big there or do you hope to go back to the PSL one day?

RD: I currently play for an ABC Motsepe League club called Greenwood Park Friends from Durban, owned by Angus Abrahams. I also play for the SA Indoor League [Futsal] local team, Young Natalians.

I’m really excited about my prospects in Futsal­ as I was named in a 30-man shadow squad for the upcoming CAF championships in April. I can’t wait to represent my country. I hope to one day make a return to the PSL. With hard work and God on my side anything is possible.

JB: Renaldo, stay strong, focused, always double your efforts in your career­. Also, don’t forget to pray and believe me, it’s not yet over with you. Good luck for the future.

RD: Thank you, I am humbled and feel honoured by this interview.

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