Memela reveals how sage advice from Iron Duke helped revitalise his career

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Luvuyo Memela (Getty Images)
Luvuyo Memela (Getty Images)

Orlando Pirates midfielder Luvuyo Memela has explained how chairperson Irvin Khoza helped to get his career back on track.

The 33-year-old silky Cape Town-born left-footed playmaker, fondly known as 'Amigo', first joined the Buccaneers in 2015 but things were not always plain sailing.

"I didn’t play at first, but then Coach Eric (Tinkler) gave me a chance and I showed myself and I pushed. Everybody started noticing: 'Who is this Memela?'," Memela told Far Post.

"I was getting goals left and right, as much as I was a winger and creating… Then, Eric got fired and another coach, Muhsin (Ertugral), came, and there were changes of coaches.

"(Under) Coach Kjell, I won't lie to you - it was difficult for me to even say it, but it was a moment where I didn't care."

The darkest days for Memela and indeed the Bucs came under Jonevret, as they finished outside of the top eight for the first time in the PSL era.

"I started forgetting the kind of person that I am. I started doing things - you know, going out… I didn’t even think of training," he continued.

"I would get calls from the guys asking: 'Hey, where are you? It's training.' Then, eventually, [I would realise]: 'Oh, s**t, training has started.'"

Memela explained that it had to take an intervention from the Iron Duke to save his career.

"I remember at some point; I had a meeting with the chairman. The chairman is a top person… He said to me: 'Boy, I'm disappointed that you're giving up… What makes you do this? Sometimes, you come to training, and you don’t even say anything - you keep quiet and don’t chat to anyone. That's not you," he revealed.

"I said: 'To be honest, what's frustrating me is that I'm not playing.' The chairman said to me: 'Who are you? What makes you think that you are better than other players and you can play, and they don't deserve to play? I'm not saying you don't deserve to play, but why do you think you are better than others?'

"Then, I realised that the chairman was right. I was not humble enough to understand the situation… It's not about you, it’s about the team. From there, I think my mindset changed a lot."

Jonevret was replaced by Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic in August 2017 and things began looking up again for 'Amigo', who says it is a pity the club never managed to win anything under the Serb tactician.

"For me, I still say he (Micho) is the humblest guy ever. Even Coach JZ (Josef Zinnbauer) is very humble. Micho is a top, top, top motivator," Memela said.

"He sees things. For me, he is a special coach. It's a pity that we couldn’t win a trophy or anything while he was around.

"When he came, I don’t know what he saw in me, but he told himself: 'Let me give this boy a chance.’ He gave me a chance and I played, and I was so free because he believed in me," added.

"I could see it in his eyes when he spoke to me while things were difficult."

- TEAMtalk media

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