Reneilwe Letsholonyane just found out he was being looked at by Tottenham
Former Bafana Bafana midfielder Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane only discovered recently that he was a subject of scrutiny by former Tottenham Hotspur coach Harry Redknapp during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Letsholonyane, who featured in Bafana’s two matches against Mexico and Uruguay, said he recently learnt from ex-Tottenham defender, and recent SuperSport United teammate, Bongani Khumalo that Redknapp was interested in him but was put off by his age.
In 2010, Letsholonyane started in the 1-1 opening draw with Mexico, the 3-0 loss to Uruguay and missed out on the 2-1 win over France as Bafana suffered the ignominy of becoming the first host nation to exit the tournament in the group stages.
“At some stage last season I was talking with Bongani Khumalo because I used to share a room with him at SuperSport United,” Letsholonyane said.
“We were just talking about stuff in general and out of the blue he told me that when he went for trials at Tottenham, the coach [Redknapp] who invited him spoke very highly of me, but the issue was my age.
Letsholonyane, who was a key member of Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs at that time, was 28 years old in 2010 and his age proved to be a stumbling block for what could have been a dream move to White Hart Lane.
“He [Khumalo] told me that the coach had issues with my age but, like I said, this is something that I didn’t know anything about until Bongani told me. No-one approached me and I only found out now recently when Bongani told me.
“Besides the Tottenham thing, at some point there were rumours of interest in me from Belgium but nothing came through formally enough for me to say it was true.”
Khumalo went for trials at Tottenham after the World Cup and was signed but his stay at the club was frustrating as he never played an official match for the first team and spent a lot of time out on loan.
In SA, there is a feeling that players like Letsholonyane, Itumeleng Khune and Siphiwe Tshabalala should have moved overseas after strong showings for Bafana in 2010.