Bidvest Wits midfielder Daine Klate’s mum saw a future cricket star in her son who, as a teenager, excelled at school and district level as a fast bowler and batsman.
However, her wish was short-lived when a 14-year-old Klate left his home town of Port Elizabeth for the famed Transnet Safa Football School of Excellence.
Today, the tiny winger, who turns 31 this month, ranks among the legends in the making in South African top-flight football.
What makes Klate tick?
“It’s the passion for the game, but there is nothing more motivating than winning,” says the winger bidding for his sixth league title.
2011/12, 2010/11 (with Orlando Pirates); 2009/10, 2008/09, 2007/08 (with SuperSport United)
2011, 2010, 2004 (under the SAA Supa8 guise)
2014, 2011, 2005 (then Absa Cup)
“All those memories [lifting silverware] are still vivid and keep me going. My success is not an individual effort. It’s a team one.”
Klate’s six league goals have kept Wits in the hunt for their first Absa Premiership title despite the Clever Boys dropping crucial points prior to their meeting with Golden Arrows yesterday.
“Elias Pelembe and I have to chip in because Gavin [Hunt] believes that if wingers can get 10 goals, we’ll win the league. Credit to [Mamelodi] Sundowns – they have been consistent, but my experience tells me it’s not over yet. It’s a three-horse race and I can’t rule out [Kaizer] Chiefs.
“I just hope the CAF Champions League distracts Sundowns. I experienced the same with Orlando Pirates in continental competition. Our league form suffered.”
Klate was not much considered by the Bafana Bafana selectors. He accumulated only 13 caps in a professional career spanning 12 years. He has not been given a chance to ply his trade abroad.
“I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I have no regrets. The game has evolved so much; I am glad to be part of the revolution,” said the former SuperSport United player.
Klate said it was not easy to predict how far his legs could still carry him. But he has invested heavily in a positive lifestyle.
Off the field, the father of two boys keeps a low profile.
“I hate to go where the so-called celebrities go.
“I am not a saint, because I do go out to night clubs with my close friends. But the timing of doing all these is very important.”