I was never given an opportunity at Mamelodi Sundowns - Thela Ngobeni

Ngobeni is relieved and happier after departing Masandawana and finding a new home

Former Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni has reflected on his time at Chlorrkop after completing a long-awaited move away from the club. 

Ngobeni was one of six new faces unveiled on Tuesday night by Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Highlands Park.

The move brings to an end many years of frustration as Ngobeni battled for game time at Sundowns and was also loaned out on more than one occasion.

Nonetheless, after failing to make a single appearance for Sundowns last season, Ngobeni is hoping to get his career back on track especially as he believes he wasn’t given a chance to prove himself at the Tshwane giants.

“I have had my fair share in the so-called big teams [having been on the books of Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns] and I feel much happier than when I signed for Sundowns back then,” Ngobeni was quoted as saying by Phakaaathi.

“There is something special about being here at Highlands because you feel wanted and special and I think I can do my best when I am appreciated.

“When I was at Sundowns I was just not given the opportunity, simple… for some reason I don’t know. I never went to the coach and I didn’t want to ask why when other players were asking why they are not playing as that was the way to go,” he added.

“I told myself that I don’t want to break my principle of doing something that I am not. I stayed focused and I knew what I was capable of doing. I was probably at the right place at the wrong time,” he said.

At Sundowns, Ngobeni faced stern opposition for the No.1 jersey with Denis Onyango and Kennedy Mweene in the squad. 

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Sundowns also signed Reyaad Pieterse at the beginning of the 2018/19 season which further limited the 30-year-old’s chances of game time.

“It has been unfortunate for me but what is more important now is me being here and it is a great opportunity for me and I think as a goalkeeper if you can take it to 40 and 45 years, why not. I just treat this opportunity as the beginning of my career and I am very excited.

“I have the opportunity to express my God-given talent and all I have to do is to try and help the team and let’s see what are the possibilities. It will always be tough and I knew before coming to Highlands Park that there are good goalkeepers here,” he explained.