Many footballers, who once had promising futures have seen their careers collapse because of lack of focus, lack of knowledge in controlling their finances. However with Thuso Phala, focus was never lost. Phala invested his knowledge and focus into something beneficial. The football star is using his life story and past experiences to encourage youngster, not to give up on their dreams.
Thuso Phala is South African midfielder, born in Soweto, 27 May 1986. He started his expert profession at platinum Stars in 2006, making his debut in the game against Golden Arrows. Phala moved to kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, until summer 2013 were he moved to Super Sport United.
The typical Soweto born player grew up being surrounded by his supporting family, who played a major role in ensuring him a successful future, explains how it was like growing up in an unhealthy environment such as Soweto. “It was not easy growing up at Soweto, particularly Orlando. I grew up around people who did drugs, crime and violence,” He said.Thhuso Phala is South African midfielder, born in Soweto, 27 May 1986. He started his expert profession at platinum Stars in 2006, making his debut in the game against Golden Arrows. Phala moved to kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, until summer 2013 were he moved to Super Sport United.
“I was fortunate to have a family like mine they took me to school, away from Orlando in order for me to avoid all sort of pressure from the hood, ”added the Player.
Phala’s undeniable talent was recognized at an early age by the late former football coach Eddie Lewis. “I began to play at a very young age, I played football at primary school, and that is where I was recognized by Eddie Lewies, who was then my soccer coach at primary and he took me to Wits juniors.”
The SuperSport winger labelled Katlego “Mahoota” Mashego, the Chipa United striker as his influential soccer icon. “I’ve always looked up to Katlego Mashego,”he said. “Mashego was the first person to welcome me in Platinum Stars, when I made it to professional soccer, Mashego guided me, and therofore his achievement really inspired me.”
The 30-year old former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder highlight how playing for one of the biggest team in South Africa such as Super Sport United remains a challenge. “It’s not easy to play for a team like Super Sport United because Pressure is everywhere and anywhere. I always have to perform to the best of my ability however it’s great at some point because you get to network with a lot of people.”
The winger therefore chose football over fame, fortune and any other career. “I don’t think there would ever be a Thuso Phala if it wasn’t for soccer. I believe I was made for it,” He said.
With so many goals and splendid track record the proudest moment of the midfielder was a goal scored for the national team during the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015. “Scoring the opening goal for Bafana Bafana at the AFCON tournament in 2015 was my proudest moment and I will forever cherish that moment,” He said.
Phala with a ball on his court
The midfielder said that he was still keen on moving overseas. “I still want to play overseas, since age is not on my side.”
The midfielder maintains his team position through hard work, even though he knows very well that being a footballer comes along with a lot of challenges. “My biggest challenge as a footballer was when I played for Sundowns and Chiefs which were the biggest teams in SA and I was relegated to a small team, which only meant that I have to work my way up again, however that did not stop me from working hard, thus I am now playing for one of the biggest teams in South Africa.”
Since joining SuperSport United in 2013, the 30- year old is now part of the 14 players currently playing in the PSL, who has scored more than 50 goals with Collins Mbesuma toping the goal scoring charts with more than 100 goals. “I feel very proud of such an achievement, because I know it’s not easy to get there. It is part of the things I should pat my back on for working so hard.”
The Super Sport United winger is not only concentrating on his already flourishing career, he is also giving back to the community where he grew up. “The Thuso Phala Foundation was a family idea by my mom (Suzan Khoza) and me, since I grew up with not so many opportunities,” Said Phala.
“My mom and I decided to rather create something for the kids of Orlando in a way I’m giving back to the community,” He added.
“We decided to use my life journey as a tool to show youngsters that it’s not as easy as it may seem to be to become a professional footballer. Therefore my foundation would be to encourage them through our motivational talks.”
Phala and Suzan at the launch of the foundation
“The foundation teaches young kids about life skills and social responsibilities, we do motivational talks and provide the kids with computer courses,” Said the Midfielder. “I want these kids to know that it is not only about the talent and knowing how to play football but it is also about perseverance, hard work and self-confidence,” he said.
What the foundation does according to Phala is that they play tournaments for the youngsters to get exposure.
The 30- year old said that he hasn’t achieved what he wants to achieve fully with the foundation as he has no sponsors yet. “I’m still working on my foundation, I haven’t yet achieved what I want to achieve, with me being the only sole person funding the programme, and would like for my Foundation to grow into a huge Soccer Academy for youngsters.”
The response is a positive one, as many youngsters are joining the academy, showing him that they are in full support of the Academy.
“I encourage all these youngsters to never give up on their dreams if they wish to be like me one day, they should work hard and believe in themselves.”