It is so unfortunate that South Africa is not ranked amongst the powerhouses of football in the African continent. The most tragic part as a nation is that we have failed to lift any major silverware in as many years. It is always a tough struggle just to secure qualification into the African Cup Of Nations(AFCON) showpiece, something we have been unable to achieve in donkey years. As a nation we have been blessed with talents but sadly it seems as if we lack somewhere.
Personally I believe that most local footballers lack discipline once they make it to top flight football. I strongly believe even some of the most elite footballers do need guidance just to keep them on a right path in life. Over the years we have been fortunate but some of the best talents we have ever had were just lost into obscurity.
There was once a point in time where Orlando Pirates was one of the most feared football clubs in South Africa during the mid 2000s. We cannot begin to name some of the players who were households during that era without the inclusion of Lucky Lekgwathi, Lucas Thwala, Teko Modise, Lebohang Mokoena and Innocent Mdledle. Most of these footballers would go to earn cult status in South Africa.
In the case of Innocence Mdledle he was just a young emerging player who was destined for the skies, one of the best left backs we have been fortunate to have. As talented as Mdledle was he would never go to reach the set standards, he would completely vanish into thin air barely a decade after turning professional.
We have since been fortunate enough to find a rare viral picture on social media of Innocent Mdledle post his retirement from football. From the shared picture it looks as if Mdledle may have had one bottle too many. Even when one may be going through tough times but turning to the bottle is never an option, hopefully it was just a once off.
Sources : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocent_Mdledle
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