Veteran defender Anele Ngcongca has opened up about why he left Belgian top-flight club KRC Genk to join Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.
Ngcongca spent nine successful years in Belgium, where he won one Belgian Pro League title, two Belgian Cups and a Super Cup with the Smurfs, but fell out with former coach Peter Maes towards the end of his tenure at the club.
"That thing is there; racism is alive and we can’t hide it. I have experienced it from my own coach at Genk, Peter Maes," Ngcongca told City Press.
"He led to my departure at the club [in 2016]. The incident that got me upset was during preseason training when I got kicked badly on my ankle in a friendly game and he said: ‘I thought Africans were strong.’
"I was like: ‘You say an African can be knocked down by a car and just stand up?’ Our fallout was a big story in the media in Belgium.
"Honestly, Genk were giving me good money and I did not intend to leave the club. But I had no choice because of the attitude and disrespect of this coach."
Subsequently, the Bafana international was sent on loan at AS Troyes in Ligue 1, but then decided to return to South Africa after Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs showed interest in his signature.
"I was sent on loan to France [at Troyes AC] and when I came back, Maes was still there," the 32-year-old added.
"But I had already made up my mind [about leaving] after a call from coach Pitso [Mosimane] who was interested in me joining Sundowns. I had also spoken to Chiefs before the call from Sundowns."
"Yes, I spoke to Bobby [Motaung], but in the end I opted for a better offer. I am sorry if I let Chiefs down, but football is a business."
Since joining the Brazilians, Ngcongca has had a hand in helping them win five major trophies, which includes a CAF Champions League title and two Absa Premiership gongs.
- TEAMtalk media