Se­crets of the Stars

With Haashim Domingo (Bid­Vest Wits)

Kick Off - - INSIDE - By Love­more Moyo

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.

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