Baloyi comes full cir­cle

Brian Baloyi is liv­ing his dream as Kaizer Chiefs’ goal­keeper trainer, writes Daniel Mothowagae, who has fol­lowed the leg­end’s ca­reer from his early play­ing days

CityPress - - Sport -

Aspot on the western side of the train­ing grounds at Chiefs Vil­lage holds fond mem­o­ries for Brian Baloyi (41). This is the ex­act scene where the now re­tired goal min­der was moulded into Amakhosi’s num­ber one and later be­came the coun­try’s first choice af­ter join­ing the glam­our club as a 17-year-old.

Among his for­mer train­ers were Deshi Bakhtawar, whose meth­ods in­cluded a drill with a ten­nis ball – and Amakhosi’s for­mer great, Don­ald “Ace” Khuse, who once took charge of the club’s goalies.

This was be­fore the club roped in spe­cial­ist coach Rainer Dinkelacker on a part-time ba­sis in 1999. Baloyi suc­ceeded the Ger­man-born men­tor as the club’s goal­keeper trainer af­ter the lat­ter re­turned to Europe last month.

“I spent 13 years with Chiefs as a player and I am ex­cited to be back at home in a dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity,” said Baloyi, who earned the Spi­der-Man moniker for his agility in his hey­day.

He sports a spi­der­web tat­too on his right arm and a grey “goa­tee”, which are per­sonal touches that are a re­minder of the larger-than-life char­ac­ter the colour­ful Baloyi used to be on the field.

“Goal­keep­ing was al­ways go­ing to be part of me for­ever. I am rid­ing on my suc­cess as a for­mer player and now writ­ing a new chap­ter as a coach. I have a feel­ing I am go­ing to be suc­cess­ful at this, though the chal­lenge is to pro­duce fu­ture ’keep­ers.”

The Alexandra town­ship-born Baloyi men­tors ar­guably the coun­try’s top goal­keep­ers – Itume­leng Khune (28), Reyaad Pi­eterse (23) and Bril­liant Khuzwayo (25) – who idolised him as a player. He is also in­volved with the coach­ing of Chiefs’ goal­keep­ers in the de­vel­op­ment ranks.

“It is a pleas­ant headache to have three ’keep­ers in the se­nior team, un­like when we have to look around for a top ’keeper. The big­gest chal­lenge is to get their men­tal as­pect right. I have al­ways be­lieved foot­ball is 80% men­tal and 20% phys­i­cal.”

He added: “It is not only about stop­ping goals, be­cause good ball dis­tri­bu­tion by ei­ther hand or foot are key when the team is at­tack­ing.”

Keep­ing a clean sheet is ev­ery ’keeper’s dream and Baloyi’s gloves­men go into to­day’s Absa Premier­ship clash with Plat­inum Stars in Cape Town hav­ing not con­ceded a goal in their last two fix­tures.

Pi­eterse is likely to re­tain the num­ber one jersey, hav­ing been in goal for the past three games since re­plac­ing Khuzwayo af­ter a 3-1 thrash­ing to Mamelodi Sun­downs in the Telkom Knock­out fi­nal last month.

Khune, who has re­cov­ered from a knee in­jury, has played seven league games so far. Said Pi­eterse: “Brian has been an in­spi­ra­tion to all of us and he has not changed the things we learnt from Rainer. There is a sense of con­ti­nu­ity in what we do at train­ing.”

Dinkelacker main­tained “train­ing should meet the re­quire­ments of mod­ern goal­keep­ing”.

“We were al­ways in touch with Rainer be­fore I even came in as his un­der­study [in July] be­cause I had an idea of open­ing a goal­keeper academy one day.”

Baloyi said his re­la­tion­ship with Chiefs, with the Mo­taungs in par­tic­u­lar, is healthy, de­spite his ac­ri­mo­nious de­par­ture from Amakhosi in 2004.

“There was no bad blood be­tween us; it was typ­i­cal of the me­dia paint­ing a neg­a­tive story. My re­turn to­day is an im­por­tant les­son to young play­ers: don’t burn your bridges,” he said.

He con­ceded there were “ups and downs” dur­ing his six-year stint with Sun­downs.

He made just two ap­pear­ances for the club dur­ing the 2010/11 sea­son, pal­try sta­tis­tics that raised the alarm bells that his time was up in the game he had served for two decades. Baloyi also racked up 24 Bafana caps. “I am a real­ist and knew there would be a time to stop. I could have played un­til 40, but hav­ing played at the high­est level for 20 years was a good num­ber to bow out on, even though I was only 37 when I re­tired in 2011. I could have searched for an­other club, but I didn’t want to have on my CV that I played for five or six clubs in my ca­reer.” Baloyi said he had al­ready made up his mind to fo­cus on the “per­sonal busi­nesses” he had es­tab­lished while play­ing. “Some­times as foot­ballers, we are dis­ad­van­taged be­cause you kind of feel a sense of jeal­ousy when you are busi­ness-minded, yet peo­ple crit­i­cise and mock us when there is noth­ing to fall back on when our play­ing days are over.

“Foot­ball needs real busi­ness man­agers and not just the agents who are there when the con­tract is signed – and you only see them again when you sign a new deal.” As a busi­ness­man, Baloyi re­vealed, things hadn’t re­ally panned out well for him.

“I had my ups and downs in fran­chis­ing busi­nesses, lost money but...” he said with a tinge of sad­ness be­fore cut­ting the con­ver­sa­tion short with: “Let’s leave that out, I’ll tell it in a book one day.”

Baloyi – a father of two boys, Kgosi aged 11 and Khumo, who turns a year old next month – cred­ited his wife Phungi and a “good fam­ily struc­ture” as the pil­lars that had sup­ported him through­out.

PHOTO: RYAN WILKISKY / BACKPAGEPIX

BRAIN TRUST

Chiefs goal­keeper trainer Brian ‘Spi­der-Man’ Baloyi ex­changes ideas with head coach Steve Kom­phela on match day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.