We lost a great warrior
Vuyani Joni: Brighton, are you aware of the Orlando Pirates 80 Legends’ campaign?
Brighton Mhlongo: Yes, I am aware of it and I even read about it in last week’s edition of Soccer Laduma.
VJ: Great. One of the 12 Legends who have to fill the five spots available to make the 80 Legends’ list is your former close teammate and friend, the late Senzo Meyiwa, whose fourth commemoration was last Friday.
BM: Look, I think for a player of Nzori’s calibre, he deserves to be there because he stood the test of times throughout, from development to the first team, until his untimely death. I feel he is someone who gave his all for the team. He knew the team’s culture very well; he knew what it meant to don that Black and White jersey and represented the club with absolute pride and honour. For me, I think throughout his illustrious career, he showed a lot of character and being a true Buccaneer. He deserves to be remembered as one of the top 80 Legends of the club. With all the turbulences he went through, all the trials and tribulations, the man still remained focused and disciplined because he loved Pirates. I believe he is one of the greatest to ever wear the Pirates jersey.
VJ: What stood out for you about Senzo?
BM: There are so many qualities I can think of... yes, people can talk about the Lubumbashi trip and what he achieved for the club on the day when we played TP Mazembe under very hostile circumstances. For me, the what stood out was his unselfish character and being there for everyone when they needed him, regardless of whether he was playing or not. When the team needed him the most, after Moeneeb Josephs suffered an injury with the team chasing the league title, he showed up big time. He grabbed the chance with both hands. For a goalkeeper who had not been playing regularly, for such a long time, to be called up at such a critical stage of the season, and go on to do as well as he did, required a lot of character and a strong mindset. He did so well and I can still remember the last-minute save he pulled off from a Collins Mbesuma shot, in our last game of 2010/11 against Golden Arrows. That save stood between us winning the league title and finishing second – that’s just how crucial it was. He was so strong and confident. He was never someone who was about himself only; he always put the team first and gave his all for Pirates, which is why I feel he should definitely make the cut for the 80 Legends.
BM: His unfortunate death is still fresh in my mind, like I woke up today (Friday) thinking about him as it has become a different and sad day for me. On this day (October 26), I always feel for Rooi Mahamutsa because it is his birthday and Senzo’s untimely and unfortunate death happened on his birthday. It always hits us hard and I know we lost a great warrior, a true friend, brother and a father. There are little things that remind me of Senzo every day, even when I’m on the field. I always think, “Eish, if only iouti yam ebisasekhona (my brother was still around)”, but life goes on and we just have to carry the baton and make sure that we keep his legacy in the best possible way. We just have to try and honour him through doing great things that he did for everyone around him and his club. Nzori was a very happy and loving person. He was a beautiful soul and I want to be the blessing he was to me and everyone around him, to others as well. I think of him and Alex (goalkeeper coach, Alexandre Revoredo), who is also no more, and smile because I know wherever they are they are happy and dancing just like we used to do together.
VJ: Brighton, thanks for your time. Anything you’d like to add before we let you go?
BM: Thanks, grootman. I’d like to urge the supporters to vote for Nzori because that’s the least we can do to honour and thank him for everything he’s done for the club. He helped take us from the gutters to greater heights and he’s a true Buccaneer that deserves more than enough votes to ensure he is one of the 80 Legends. His blood was Black and White as he was one of us from childhood until his untimely passing. It would be a great gesture for us to continue his legacy so that the next generation can learn from his history. So I appeal to the supporters vote him in so that he continues to rest in peace.