Dladla ready to tattoo Chiefs' name on PSL title
From wrist to shoulder, Josta Dladla's right arm is festooned in so many tattoos he'd need Google Map to locate his right elbow.
The body art is called a sleeve, and features the names of his wifeThato and five-year-old son Xavier.
Two rolling dice - numbered four and five, symbolising his number nine shirt - take pride of place on the right forearm.
The Kaizer Chiefs star is certainly on a roll as four goals in five games is a statistic of his early-season form, which has put Chiefs in pole position in the Absa Premiership with three wins out of three.
His fourth goal, a delicious diving header against Ajax Cape Town, booked a berth against nemesis Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final that is to be played at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
It is this purple patch that the colourful Chiefs crowd will hope Dladla brings to the party as they seek to dethrone Pirates.
"We are underdogs, straight up. Pirates are on a roll. If I were an MTN8, league and Nedbank Cup champ, I'd also have my tail up. It seems they can do nothing wrong. They have an air of invincibility about them," says Dladla.
"But there's going to be blood all over the pitch come Saturday. We will surprise a lot of people."
An air of invincibility is what Dladla's Mamelodi Sundowns had about them.
At Chloorkop, the winger scored 15 goals in 122 appearances between 2004 and 2008, scooping dollops of silverware including the SAA Supa8, Nedbank Cup and two league titles - a far cry from a goalless campaign with one trophy to show with Amakhosi last term.
"Last season was the worst in my career," said the 32-year-old who made his professional debut for Wits University aged 19 in 1999 before moving to Aarhus in Denmark in 2002.
His first professional goal was against Jomo Cosmos, and he also hit the bull's-eye against Bidvest Wits in league and cup.
"We've never started the season so convincingly since I have been here. But we must not get too excited It's only been three games. Pirates are still favourites for the league and Sundowns are always in the mix because of their squad."
Many are curious to know if Chiefs can do it without Knowledge Musona, who fired in 15 goals last season.
"Yo, yo, yo, that boy was like a machine, rattling in goals left, right and centre," he raves about the Zimbabwe international transferred to Hoffenheim. "We were worried about who was going to score for us after his move.
"But we are rising to the occasion, picking up scraps and getting three points. Lehlohonolo Majoro and Bernard Parker will deliver the goods and are working hard for the team. I feel we need a big boy, a target man who can hold up the ball."
Is Sthembiso Ngcobo not big enough for his fancy?
"He is, but he is more a run-into-space kind of striker."
Ngcobo has not seen much action so far. But Vladimir Vermezovic will remember how his two goals stopped a Bucs clean sweep of trophies when Chiefs beat Pirates in the Telkom Knockout last year. As Chiefs seek to snatch the MTN8, Dladla feels the teams are evenly matched in midfield.
"Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa and Tlou Segolela are doing well but we will match them pound for pound. We have a beast in Reneilwe Letsholonyane, a rock in Tinashe Nengomasha and Shabba (Siphiwe Tshabalala) is a great player who can kill anybody on his day. The Buccaneers must just bring it on."
Back to tattoos, Dladla hopes the two crosses on his back and another on the bicep of his left arm, won't be as heavy a burden as another barren league season - it's been six years - for the once undisputed kings of the local soccer castle.