Secrets of the Stars
With Haashim Domingo (BidVest Wits)
BidVest Wits midfielder Haashim Domingo reveals some interesting facts about his life.
Born Moegammad Haashim Domingo, the attacking midfielder has been using his middle name all his career. “On paper I am Moegammad, which is what my mom uses when I’m in trouble, but I have been called by my second name all my life. My nickname ‘Boots’ is from my early primary school days and I think it is because I played with soccer boots on the streets,” he says.
Domingo is the second born and only boy in a family of four kids. His father is a construction handyman, while his mother works in property administration. The Wits midfielder has no kids but is planning to get married next year.
He was born in a Muslim family in Mowbray, Cape Town but raised in Hanover Park up to Grade 6, when his family moved to nearby Mountview. However, his grandmother still stays in Hanover Park – an area troubled by drugs and gangsterism.
South African football legend Benni McCarthy hails from just five minutes away from Domingo’s home in Hanover Park. “One of Benni’s friends stayed in the same block of flats where I grew up, so he used to visit frequently whenever he was in the country. I remember how everyone would go crazy just seeing him in the neighbourhood. When you watch someone from your area playing in European leagues on television, you are inspired,” he says.
The 24-year-old attended York Road Primary School from Grade R-7 before proceeding to Belgravia High School, where he passed his Matric and still has intentions of studying further.
Domingo started playing football aged five at Oriental Gunners and was then scouted by Ajax Cape Town two years later, going on to spend 11 years in the Urban Warriors youth structures. However, an ugly contractual dispute with the Cape Town club led to a delay to his senior career. He says he was offered a mere R7,500 per month deal in 2014, which he turned down.
He has been to more European countries than in Africa with his club hunt having taken him to Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Belgium and Norway getting to train at clubs as Brondby IF, FC Schalke, Barcelona B, Ajax Amsterdam, Lokeren, KRC Genk and KVC Westerlo. “At Barcelona I saw all first team players because we used to have breakfast at the same place, while at Schalke I trained with (Leroy) Sane.”
Domingo says after he won his FIFA case against Ajax Cape Town, “I was then able to sign in Portugal. With what I have seen in Mali and Guinea I now realise how spoilt we because we are always complaining all the time wanting the government to look out for us.”
He was linked with a possible move to Cape Town City at the beginning of last season, but the deal fell through. “City and Maritzburg United did both put contracts on the table but I felt Wits was a winning environment which I needed in my career, especially under Gavin Hunt. I have nothing against City, but Wits suited my growth better. I still want to go back to Europe all the same,” says Domingo.
The former youth international is not related to ex-Proteas international coach Russel Domingo, despite playing cricket as a middle order batsman for the Western Province Under-11. He had to drop cricket as it clashed with his football schedule at Ajax Cape Town juniors and required of him to travel a lot to training.
BidVest Wits midfielder Haashim Domingo does not use his first name and has visited more countries in Europe than in Africa. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the diminutive 24-year-old.