• September 28th, 2020

Personality of the week: Ronnie F. Kanalelo

Name:         Ronnie Fillemon Kanalelo
Date of Birth:     23/05/1971
Place of Birth:     Walvis Bay
Marital Status:     Married
Nickname:     The Magnet

Best player you’ve ever faced: Too many to mention
Best player you’ve played with: Roger Feutmba
Your smallest pay cheque: R12 000
Former team that used the most muti: None
Former clubs: Blue Waters, Eleven Arrows, Black Africa (all Namibia), Mamelodi Sundowns (SA).

Ronnie Kanalelo (RN) started his football career at Blue Waters FC back in his home country of Namibia. He then joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 1997 and won a lot of trophies with the star-studded side. The 49-year-old former goalkeeper also represented his country at the highest level and made it to the squad for the 1998 African Cup of Nations in Burkina Faso, where Benni McCarthy scored four goals past him when Namibia squared up against South Africa. Here is a rerun of one of his interviews with Soccerladuma (SL).

SL: Ronnie, you spent eight long years at Mamelodi Sundowns. Who was your roommate there?

RK: Yhoo, I used to share a room with different guys every time and I’m talking about the likes of Marc Batchelor, Pitso Mosimane and Alex Bapela. I never had a fixed roommate...I’d just share with anybody. I must say I learnt a lot from Pitso in terms of professionalism, as he was coming back from Europe at that time. Daniel ‘Mambush’ Mudau liked to tease the other guys but didn’t like it when the favour was returned. That was the thing with him, ha, ha. John Tlale was another funny character.

SL: Are there any funny incidents that you can recall from those days?
RK: Many! I remember one time we had a meeting, as a team, with Natasha Tsichlas in the club’s old offices in town. Joel ‘Fire’ Masilela had not been feeling well the day before and Natasha asked him, “Hey, Joel, how are you today?” Fire then responded, “I’m fine, Miss, it’s just that I’m blood bleeding.” Ha, ha, ha, he wanted to say his nose was bleeding! But that’s the English language sometimes.
The guy was quite serious about it but we were all laughing. Because of my dark complexion the guys used to call me ‘Black Cat’ or ‘Peanut Butter’. When I joined the team, Mambush used to drive this old yellow BMW 3-series. Because of its colour the guys used to call it ‘Rama’, but he didn’t like that, ha, ha, ha. He was a very nice guy, but don’t get too comfortable by teasing him.
Lovers Mohlala was the craziest of the lot. He was always late for training. Natasha used to like Lovers and treated him like her son. I remember one time he came to training with a couple of guys he said he owed money. But I think that was just a dodgy story to get money out of Natasha. Lovers pitched up with sneakers that had bullet holes in them. Apparently those guys had told him, “If you don’t bring the money, those bullet holes in your takkies will be somewhere in your body.” He was always up to something, always in a rush. As soon as we had finished training he would be gone, and then the next morning he would tell you, “Hey, I went to Polokwane last night and I only came back this morning.”

SL: Never a dull moment with Lovers…Tell us more about the club officials?

RK: Well, Peter Koutroulis was a very nice person. He was passionate about the game and had a funny way of speaking English. Obviously he’s Greek and we used to call him the lion because of his hair. If you see him now, he looks like a chicken sprinkled with water. In those days, he had a lot of hair on his head. Our vice-chairperson, Angelo Tsichlas, used to be the goalkeeper coach on most occasions. He was quite good.
I remember he kept me in shape for a very long time, as I wasn’t playing, and when I was called up to the national team I was very fit. But later on it got tiring, because you’d find that you were training even when the team wasn’t training.
So one time the team’s goalkeepers Nelson Bandura, Gavin Silango, John and I decided that we weren’t going to train the following morning. When Angelo came to training, surprise, surprise, we weren’t there! In the afternoon training session he was very angry, ha, ha.
He asked us, “Why didn’t you come to training in the morning?” We said, “No, the coach said we mustn’t come.” What was funny is that he was confused about the difference between employer and employee. So he asked, “Who’s the employer? Who’s the employee?” Then he started saying, “Employer! Employee!” He was trying to figure out which one described him, ha, ha. Then I saw Gavin rolling on the ground laughing.

SL: Ha, ha, ha! That’s quite hilarious…

RK: After that we just went like, “Employer! Employee! Employer! Employee!” Ha, ha, ha. He then looked at us and said, “I want to see you tomorrow morning.” When he was busy punishing us the next morning, we were busy screaming, “Employer! Employee! Employer! Employee!” Those were the good moments at Sundowns. As much as people said the Tsichlases were greedy people, they were actually very nice. They did a good job to put Sundowns where it was, until Patrice Motsepe came in. As a player, you needed to be a strong character to live up to their expectations. -www.soccerladuma.co.za

Staff Reporter
2020-06-04 09:05:20 | 3 months ago

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