The decorated PSL veteran is thinking ahead following his move to Chippa United, but remains determined to make an impact in Port Elizabeth.
After leaving Port Elizabeth for Gauteng at a very young age, Daine Klate is finally back in his hometown after joining Chippa United in the off-season. In this interview with KICK OFF’s Tshepang Mailwane, the decorated 33-year-old talks about his homecoming, winning everything and life after football.
KICK OFF: How does it feel being back home in Port Elizabeth?
Daine Klate: It’s a good feeling. One always appreciates home a little more once you have been away from it for so long. The first few months have been really good for me. I am appreciating the small little things a bit more, seeing the beach, the beautiful stadium and training here every day. It’s a good feeling being back, and I am obviously looking forward to making a difference for the club.
Is this something you planned all along?
My wife and kids moved to PE about three years ago; Zack is in Grade 3 now and Alex is in Grade 1. The plan was to settle in PE after football, but it’s now a blessing that I am able to play for Chippa which helped with the decision of moving here permanently. So yeah, it’s been in the pipeline. I think the cost of living is a little bit less here. The lifestyle is much calmer and the quality of life is much better for my family. I have my cousins and aunts here, though my parents are still in Joburg, but I have a lot of family and friends here, so it’s only good for me to be here to prepare for life after football.
Is this where you want to retire?
Absolutely. I think you can never really pinpoint plans like that, but it would be ideal if it happens that way. My next dream is to be successful beyond football.
How did the move to Chippa come about?
To be honest with you, we started speaking at the end of the [2016/17] season when I won the league with Wits. I had a brief chat with the chairman [Chippa Mpengesi] while I was down here in PE. We had a conversation about it [making a move], but I still had an option in my contract with Wits and they took that option. I then did a bit of research in the meantime on Chippa, and when the opportunity came to go, I took it. Obviously with me deciding that I wanted to return to PE and Wits not taking up their option in my contract the following year, everything worked out perfectly. I think everything worked out the way it should have.
You have previously mentioned wanting to give back to the people of PE … how do you plan on doing so?
I have already started a little bit – a good friend of mine, Bafana July, and myself have started going around to coach the local kids. We just go randomly every other week. We load goal posts onto a bakkie and take them to a school. When we got there the first time, we had about 12 or 13 players, but by the time we left, the entire school wanted to play soccer. Those are things I am looking at, while obviously trying to get something proper going with the various schools in the area. We’re looking at getting in Elrio van Heerden as well, to go around and inspire the young children. There’s a lot of gangsterism happening, so if we can get one or two kids to get out of the area and be successful in life, then it will be job done.
Do you ever think about life after football?
Yes, I think about it every day. I think it’s a process and a transition that you need to get used to. I have spoken to a lot of ex-players, guys like Stanton Fredericks and Ricardo Katza. Speaking to those guys, no matter how much you think you have planned and invested, you can never really be prepared for life after football. The system takes a shock and you obviously have to prepare, because you wake up every day of your life and go to training. That’s become part of your existence, so that’s something that will psychologically take a lot from me, but I have been doing research and I am trying to make it as easy as possible for myself. But I still have a lot in my legs and the passion has not died down yet. I am not ready to retire yet – maybe after two or three more seasons.
How important is it to plan and invest for life after football?
I think people need to realise that very few PSL footballers earn enough money to sustain themselves for their entire lives. We are not playing in Europe where
players buy houses and cars in cash. You still need to go to the bank and get a bond that you pay over 20 years – and our careers don’t span over 20 years. We try to invest by buying properties and renting them out, but not all those properties are paid up. So it’s all about working clever with your money and trying as much as possible to invest. The flip side of the coin is that you also have to live for the moment, because tomorrow is not promised. You also want to drive the car you dream of, so it goes two ways. You have to invest for the future, but it does not mean that you must not live for the present. But I don’t think PSL players earn enough money for both. Yes, we are fortunate and blessed to earn money that people can only dream of, but if you compare us to Europeans, those players can buy houses in cash and we can’t.
Do you see yourself working as a coach after you hang up your boots?
It’s something I have been giving a lot of thought to. I have already started here helping out with the juniors and my old club Glenville Celtic in the seniors as well. Maybe that passion is building in me and it’s something I would consider in the future, while obviously getting the right badges and educating myself. That’s important. I think it’s a possibility, and if I really think about it, coaches earn more than players in this country, so that’s an option.
Which coaches would you say have played the biggest role in your career?
Coach Pitso Mosimane comes to mind, when I worked under him at the beginning of my career [at SuperSport United]. I obviously can’t neglect coach Mandla Mazibuko and coach Sam Mbatha when I was at the School of Excellence. I think those two coaches prepared me well for what I have since achieved in the PSL. Life skills were important at the School of Excellence and the coaches there put a lot of focus on that. When I left the School of Excellence, coach [Kwanele] Kopo played a key role, getting me over to SuperSport United. Those coaches really helped me a lot at academy level. Coach Pitso put that work ethic into me, in making me dedicate my life to football. He gave me an opportunity and taught me how to be a professional player. The foundations were laid very well. I also achieved a lot with coach Gavin [Hunt] as well. I won four league titles with Gavin, who has played a huge part in my career to date.
How disappointed was Gavin Hunt when you left Wits?
To be honest with you, it was not really planned. Everything played out the way it was supposed to play itself out. We never really chatted about anything. I think with the club fighting relegation last season, I did not want to get into contractual discussions prematurely, because we were focused solely on finishing in a respectable position. I wanted to wait for the season to be done, but when the season finished everybody took a break and everything just happened … the option in my contract was still there, but I never heard back from the club, but everything played out the way it should. I can’t fault anybody and there’s no bad blood. I speak to Gavin almost every day and I spoke to Jose [Ferreira] and I thanked the club. Also, I felt that after three years [with Wits], I should come to PE and take up this challenge for myself because I think I did everything with Wits. I won three trophies in the three years I was there. So I felt it was time for me to move on.
Klate celebrates Bidvest Wits’ 2016 MTN8 final victory with coach Gavin Hunt.