THE nickname ‘Skhwama Samatariyana’ invokes memories of a football wizard who dazzling skills on YouTube has left the multitudes in stitches and myriad of jaws experiencing a downward movement.
Tshepo Matete’s (23) unorthodox style of football has seen his video on Youtube receiving over 120 000 views and have seen him gaining somewhat of a cult status for his exploits.
It was from that juncture that National First Division pace-setters Baroka FC decided to add some living on-field drama to the side by signing this left winger.
There has long been a debate as to whether there is a place for elaborate skill or indeed exhibitionism in the modern game.
Some say that freedom of expression and individual flair can only add excitement, while others see it purely as show-boating. As unconventional as he has always been, Matete’s approach to the professional game of late hasn’t detoured completely as there is still a modicum of “kasi flavor”. He says it’s all about cooling down the game “The spicing up of professional football with kasi flavor is to cool the game down and to try and motivate my guys.
I strongly believe the more you enjoy football, the more you enjoy and express yourself out there, the more likely you are to win a game. So I think that if I am doing my thing out there on the field, I think it becomes a motivation to my team-mates. I also try to confuse the opponent, to cool them down,” says Matete. Before he put pen to paper with Baroka, Matete never had a professional club. A product of dusty street diski, he acknowledges that township soccer and professional football are like a tale of two cities. “The difference between the professional level and me playing on the dusty fields – it’s a matter of match fitness. And obviously it’s much more competitive – it’s the NFD, and at another level. One game at a time you know, there is always room for improvement” Matete emphasised.
Baroka Managing Director Khurishi Mphahlele believes his club made the right choice in signing the player who hails from Natalspruit near Katlehong, whom they spotted playing at the Maimane Phiri Tournament in Alexandra.
Mphahlele said: “We believe we made the correct decision. Our coach, Kgokolo Thobejane does not like to restrict our players. Possession is important and a player like Tshepo can help us keep the ball.” Matete’s marriage with Bakgaga became one of the stress-free engagements, no clearance from a petulant team, no rigmarole whatsoever.
CEO Morgan Mammila joked that “he just signed an affidavit at a police station that said ‘I Tshepo Matete state under oath that I am signing with Baroka FC.’
In one of the home games at the Old Peter Mokaba stadium, Bakgaga not only defeated AmaZulu 2-0, but the use of Matete as a marketing tool paid huge dividends.
“He’s already giving us good publicity because lots and lots of fans came just to see him perform” said Mammila.
TS66: From dusty street diski to professional football Baroka FC right winger Tshepo Matete is setting the flame ablaze in the NFD.