One of the most feared strikers in PSL history Wilfred Mugeyi almost never made the move from Zimbabwe to South Africa in the early 1990s.
Mugeyi is now a household name in local football circles having played for Bush Bucks, Ajax Cape Town and Free State Stars.
‘Silver Fox’ top-scored with 23 goals in the 1996/97 season and scored 91 times in the PSL era, plundering a total of 113 goals for Bush Bucks including goals scored before 1996.
Being such a prolific marksman, Mugeyi was naturally approached by all of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, but never joined any of the big three, and recently explained why.
Mugeyi says he enjoyed playing against Chiefs, against whom he scored four goals between 1996-2007 when he retired.
However, his goal statistics between 1993-1996 were unavailable at the time of publishing.
“Not sure with the number (of goals), but I scored more goals against Chiefs than any other team,” Mugeyi told KickOff.com, although this claim is unverified.
Since 2012 the 51-year-old has also coached at Ajax, Chippa United and AmaZulu and remains involved in the local game.
Yet Mugeyi reveals that he almost never came to South Africa due to fears over apartheid after being scouted while playing for Zimbabwean side Black Aces.
“When I was at Aces we came to South Africa for pre-season and we were invited by Bush Bucks. We had a pre-season friendly game with Bush Bucks, so that’s when they spotted me because I gave them a torrid time.
“Yes we lost 2-1, but I had a very, very good game. But that time they wanted me to stay, but I didn’t want to because that time it was still apartheid, around ‘93. So I was very scared, so I refused to stay behind.
“Then six months later the owner of the club Sturu Pasiya’s father Dan Pasiya flew to Zimbabwe and he came to fetch me. So that’s how they convinced me to come. Otherwise I wasn’t going to join them. So they were wise to fly to Zimbabwe.”
Mugeyi did not make millions from his football career, but was well looked-after at Bucks considering the era.
“My first football salary was 1 200 Zimbabwean dollars at a time when it was still equivalent to the rand, then my first salary at Bush Bucks was R5 000 back in 1993,” he reveals.
“It was very difficult for us to save money because we were not earning a lot of money. In that R5 000 you’ve got a family that you are looking after. So there was no money to save. You can’t save when you’ve got no food on the table.
“Things started to change a little bit later, I managed to buy properties. Me and my brother (William) have now opened an academy; one in East London, one here in Cape Town. I have got properties I’m renting out. So that’s where my income comes from.”
Mugeyi, whose favourite team in South Africa is Ajax Cape Town, has free advice for current players regarding the secret to his longevity in the game.
“You just need to work hard if you want to stay in this game for a long time, because number one you are not doing it for anyone, you’re doing it for yourself,” he says.
“Throughout my career, I’ve used the three Ds, Determination, Dedication and Discipline. You have never read about Wilfred Mugeyi sleeping late or was seen in the nightclub or girls were fighting for Wilfred. Never! The only thing you read about me is football. That’s discipline.
“Then the second one is to listen to your coaches. Listen to your coach like you listen to your father.” — KickOff