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Thami Sangweni Admits Pressure In Following His Bro’s Footsteps

  • July 8, 2024
  • 2 min read
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Thami Sangweni Admits Pressure In Following His Bro’s Footsteps

Midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni admits there was enormous pressure to live up to the success of his older brother, Siyabonga Sangweni, who starred for Orlando Pirates.

Thami initially appeared to be following his brother’s path when he joined Mamelodi Sundowns from AmaZulu before the 2012/13 season. He even scored a goal in Sundowns’ emphatic 4-1 victory over Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 quarter-final that season, in what was his first game at the club.

However, Sangweni only managed 14 appearances in all competitions that year. The following season, he was loaned out to Cape Town Spurs. He then spent three seasons with Chippa United, where he eventually earned the captain’s armband under coach Dan Malesela.

Chippa achieved their best-ever finish in the 2015/16 season, securing an eighth-place finish by defeating Chiefs in the final game. Despite seemingly finding a home in the Eastern Cape, Pirates came calling in the 2017/18 season to play for the club his big brother played for. However, it proved to be a difficult spell, with Sangweni only playing three matches before returning to Chippa United.

“The pressure was always there,” Sangweni admitted when asked by Sportswire if his brother’s success had held him back. “Even if you’re at different levels, the pressure will always be there whenever you get a chance to play.”

The 35-year-old clarified that he wasn’t hindered by his brother’s achievements. “I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “I was paving my own way at Sundowns and the other clubs I played for. But I won’t dwell on the past. The past is important for learning lessons, but it’s also time to move forward.”

After stints at Maritzburg United and TS Sporting, Sangweni is now back in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, playing for ABC Motsepe League side Umsinga FC. Remarkably, he has lost all five cup finals he has participated in throughout his career at various clubs.

Despite this, Sangweni hasn’t given up on returning to top-flight football. “It would be a blessing if I get the chance,” he said. “But for now, I’m focused on Umsinga as we begin pre-season soon.”

While initially reluctant to discuss his career openly, Sangweni’s story offers a glimpse into the challenges of following in a successful sibling’s footsteps, while also highlighting his determination to carve his own path.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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