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Lehumo Itshegetseng: From ‘Legend’ To Taxi Driver But The Glass Is Half Full

South African Lehumo’s story from a prolific striker to a taxi driver.

It is 6 am in the morning. Residents of Parktown suburb on the sidelines of Johannesburg are already up, ready to face another day. Among them is Lehumo Itshegetseng, a taxi driver.

Unknown to many, even to his customers, Itshegetseng was one of the best football talents in South Africa back in the day.

It’s almost a decade since the star midfielder exited the football scene, and with it, faded the memories of his footballing days.

Itshegetseng once turned up for “Amaglug-glug”-the South Africa U-23 national team in the early 2010s. However, he never attracts as much as a glance from people.

His glorious past as a player for top clubs is now nothing but a faded memory. The ‘prolific midfielder,’ as he was popularly known back in the day, thrilled football fans locally and internationally.

As a player at Premier Soccer League outfit Free State Stars, Itshegetseng played with Kaizer Chiefs legend Sthembiso Ngcobo and other big names in South African football those years.

Itshegetseng has an impressive footballing CV, having played for Mpumalanga Black Aces and Free State Stars. Now at 34, he reveals what forced him into early retirement.

“At age 30 I had to retire after an injury I had at EC Bees from King Williams Town but I keep fit with the masters now,” Itshegetseng said in an interview.

“I didn’t reach that full potential since some people feel I robbed them. For personal reasons and I ended up losing focus when my mom passed away, it affected me badly,” he adds.

Itshegetseng reveals how he came to know Black Aces, a side which he contributed much to its promotion to Premier Soccer League.

“My mother’s cousin called me and let me know that Aces bought Pillars and that they were going to move to Mpumalanga.”

The reason why the winger did not last for long with the Zionists was his quest of wanting to grow in football, something that led him to a shift in Bethlehem as he explains

“I needed a new challenge as I was growing up and in football when you are young and having all the things that you can use and teams are looking for your services, you can compete. Aces turned down my offer as Sundowns were after my services as well.”

He also points out what he earned as salary during his time and how life has been since the time he left football and what he is doing now at his retirement to make ends meet.

“I can say I used to earn less than R15 000 at Free State Stars. I did manage [to save] but it was not that enough in a way that I was supposed to cover most of the costs at home, and [only] one season at Stars as well, you can’t save enough.”

“So far so good, at the moment I’m working as a Taxify driver. But sometimes I transport people special… and that’s how I make small [money].”

“I do play football, there are teams that want my help but I can’t even find time to go to gym. But you can see even when I play with the masters some of the things are easy for me because of basics. But so far I’m still pushing as a Taxify driver.”

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