In a surprising revelation, former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Thuso Phala openly admitted to falsifying his birth date throughout his football career during an episode of the Kota and Chill podcast.
“Do you want to know my age or the football age? After all, there is age that you leave at home and then there is football age, which you use on the field.”
Phala, who officially retired in 2020 with Black Leopards, is officially recorded as 37 years old. However, he revealed on the podcast that his football age, the age he portrayed during his career, differed.
“Will they now take away the medals and trophies that I have won if they find out my real age, and say that I am a defaulter? If that is a crime, let’s leave it at that.”
Controversy in Football Ages
The concept of football age, where players may adjust their age for various reasons, has been a topic of controversy in the football world. Phala emphasized that such discrepancies are more prevalent in development ranks than at higher levels of the sport.
“How can you retire at the age of 34? This thing is only a problem in development ranks; it is not a problem at the higher (paying) level.”
Phala’s Illustrious Career
Despite the admission, Thuso Phala enjoyed a successful career spanning 14 years, securing numerous medals while playing for prominent teams such as Chiefs, Sundowns, and SuperSport United. He represented Bafana Bafana 22 times at the international level and participated in the 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
Phala’s revelation sheds light on a practice that has been witnessed in South African football, with notable instances like the late Senzo Meyiwa discovered to have discrepancies in official records regarding his age.
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