SPORTING a black Boston hat popularised by South African music icon Freddie “Amadhamara” Gwala complemented by fitting spectacles and clean shaven, 45- year-old former Warriors and Highlanders defender Alexander Maseko appears 20 years younger than his age.
By Brian Nkiwane
He celebrated reaching four and a half decades of existence on September 10 in his adopted country South Africa.
Standardsport caught up with the “Cool Ruler” when he visited the Warriors camp while the team was preparing for a friendly match against South Africa in Johannesburg.
The Warriors presented him with a befitting birthday present after beating Bafana Bafana 2-1 in an international friendly match at Orlando Stadium that same night.
Knowledge Musona and Cuthbert Malajila scored for the Warriors, while Bernard Parker scored the face saver for Bafana.
Most players, after hanging their boots, pursue a career in coaching, but not Maseko. He vowed never to get into coaching.
He had come to make final touches to some of the intended deals, which will see a number of local players making moves to greener pastures through his newly-founded company, Focus Sports Management.
“I am here just as a courtesy visit to our national team, but the main reason why I am here is to see some of the boys that I am managing, who are part of the Warriors’ team. Their deals might sail through in a few weeks’ time, but for now I cannot reveal the names of the players,” he said.
Maseko, recently launched Focus Sports Management, which focusses on the needs of players during their playing career and even after retirement.
“As a former player, I have seen a lot. There are things that players must not worry about, which are supposed to be the agent’s responsibilities. But what happens with other managers is that if they facilitate a move, a player signs and he gets his share and he is gone for good. So at Focus Sports Management, we are saying no to this, agents and managers must look into other things that affect players on and off the field,” he added.
Apart from the few players that were in camp with the Warriors, Maseko said he had, with the assistance of Omega Sibanda, identified other players who they are yet to call for trials.
“This project is designed for my country first but then if resources allow, we will extend the invitation to South African players as well. We have links with international clubs, so what we want is to create a website which will be full of players’ profiles and videos,” added Maseko.
A reliable source revealed that Masimba Mambare and Charles Sibanda are some of the players on Maseko’s books.
Maseko opened up about his future and had this to say: “I hate running up and down the touchline, having to pre-empt the opposite coach’s mind to win a match, the job is too stressing. I am one former player who will never get into coaching like many others do.”
After finishing his O’Level’s at Mpopoma High School, Maseko was lured to join DRG Viking, a football team which was in the lower leagues where he was offered employment as a dispatch clerk in 1982.
In 1983, he joined Highlanders for the then staggering Z$500 and he spent the entire season playing for the Highlanders reserve side.
“I then made my top-flight football debut for Highlanders when the 1984 season started, after supporters had called for my inclusion in the first team. Then, I was playing as a defensive midfielder,” Maseko said.
He added: “It then happened that our central defender Douglas Mloyi got injured and the coach Cosmas Zulu told me that afternoon that I was going to play as a defender. That is how I became a defender.”
Maseko reckoned that the Highlanders team of that time conquered most of their opponents, claiming most of the trophies on offer. He left Bosso to join Darryn Tornadoes in 1988.
“I left Bosso to join DT in Harare, and this did not go down well with other supporters who had to offer all sorts of things for me to come back to Highlanders, which I then did in 1990. We won the championship that year.”
Looking back at his career, Maseko revealed some of his tough opponents.
“There were players like Moses Chunga, Shacky Tauro and Maronga Nyangela. You had to be at your best to contain them,” said Maseko.
Maseko is married and was blessed with two kids, Alex (22), and Alexis (19). His son has not shown signs of retracing his father’s footprints onto the football pitch.
“He has to finish school first,” concluded Maseko with a smile.
Maseko’s career dilemma
After securing employment in Harare, Maseko was forced to train with CAPS United and would join his teammates at Highlanders on Fridays.
“My coach Roy Baretto did not like the arrangement. When I was still trying to get out of this dilemma, whether to quit my job for Bosso or join CAPS United, another chance came. Robert Gumede came with an offer for trials at Mamelodi Sundowns.
“I went for trials and impressed. I was signed in 1991. I played for Sundowns until 1996 when I got injured in a tournament. After recovering from that injury, I decided to hang my boots,” said Maseko.
He added: “In 1997, I then joined Vodacom where I was working until last year when I decided to quit.”