Mngomeni pleads with his Magic FC teammates to forget about their love for Kaizer Chiefs
Thando Mngomeni has conceded that some of his Magic FC teammates are staunch Kaizer Chiefs fans and he's pleaded with them to forget about their love for AmaKhosi when the two sides meet in a Nedbank Cup last 16 encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The now 36-year-old Mngomeni faced Chiefs on numerous occasions at the height of his career and he's crossing fingers that his colleagues do not to suffer from stage fright when the Cape Town amateur side lines up against the South African football cup kings in this David vs Goliath contest.
“Playing against Chiefs is always a special occasion and the players have been made aware of the situation and how they must handle themselves‚" Mngomeni said.
"I know that some of the players are Chiefs fans but on the day they must forget about that and think about Magic FC and themselves.
"Whatever happens‚ we will be proud of ourselves and our achievement and return our focus on the league where we are fighting for promotion.”
The well-travelled former Bafana Bafana‚ SuperSport United‚ Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits stylish midfielder is in the twilight of his career and certainly no stranger to the limelight.
After a few years in the wilderness since he left Wits in 2013‚ Mngomeni will be thrust back into the spotlight as a key member of Magic FC in Port Elizabeth.
Since leaving Wits six years ago‚ Mngomeni fell out of love with the game until he was recruited by Magic FC and he joined the ABC Motsepe League side in 2017.
“Obviously I will not be the same as I was a few years ago but the determination and skills are still there‚” he said with a laugh‚ adding that he has matured with time and takes his responsibilities as a senior player seriously.
“I have matured over the years as a human being and it is the same with my football even though I am playing in a lower division.
"My decision-making is much better and that rubs off on the younger players in the team who look up to me for guidance.
"Off the field‚ I am married with three kids and not everything is about me anymore.
"A lot of things have been said about me but I am in a happy space with my family.”
He said they have analysed Chiefs‚ who played to a 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby last weekend‚ and they have identified a few areas they will be looking to exploit.
“It is not going to be an easy game to negotiate because they have experience and better players in most department‚" he said.
"But I am hopeful because we are balanced with a fair amount of experience and youth.
"We have identified a few areas we can exploit to make their lives difficult and the good thing is that we share responsibility on the field.
"We have created an environment where even younger players are encouraged to lead in certain situations.
"It is not only the responsibility of us senior players to make decisions.”
Mngomeni has not made up his mind about what he wants to do when he finally retires from the game for good but he sometimes helps Magic FC coach David Kannemeyer during training sessions.
“I do give my input here and there during training sessions.
"I have known David for many years and we sometimes talk about our days together at Sundowns a few seasons ago.”
Chiefs will arrive in Port Elizabeth with their bevy of stars‚ including George Maluleka‚ Pule Ekstein‚ Khama Billiat and Willard Katsande‚ among many others‚ but it is unlikely that the evergreen Mngomeni will be intimidated.