The mystery of Mbulelo Mabizela

During Glenn Hoddle’s reign of Tottenham, South African international Mbulelo Mabizela was brought into White Hart Lane. At the time South Africans were all the rage in England with Lucas Radebe, Shaun Bartlett and Mark Fish excelling in what when then termed the Premiership. Sadly for Spurs, they signed the booby-prize. In his short Spurs career Mabizela appeared for Tottenham just nine times, registering just one goal (although it was a cracker) against Leicester.

Nicknamed Old John for apparently showing maturity beyond his years, Mabizela has sadly had a career littered with troubles. Mabizela was released from Tottenham for disciplinary problems, while only a few months ago, he had been stripped of the Bafana captaincy for going AWOL. Other troubles have included a six month ban for the use of a banned substance back in 2006. So within that context, the latest episode surrounding Mabizela is not that unusual.

News is now circulating in South Africa that the Mamelodi Sundowns’ footballer has now gone AWOL following a reported car-accident, in a story straight out of a murder-mystery thriller. According to reports, “Mabizela was involved in a car accident were not confirmed by Pietermaritzburg police or his mother, but locals say they witnessed the accident. The player’s mother, Mamazane Old-John, asked about her son’s whereabouts, refused to answer. ‘I’m afraid I cannot answer that question,’ she said and put down the phone.”

“The police said there is no record of an accident involving Mabizela, but media reports said that his mother told Sundowns officials that Mabizela was involved in a car accident. It was also reported that his car had been damaged and was parked at his grandmother’s house in Chase Valley. However, when’s correspondent visited his grandmother’s house in Sanctuary Road, the car was not there. It is not clear whether the car is at his mother’s home in Athlone.”

Muddying the picture even further is a separate set of quotes from the Sundowns executive technical director Ted Dumitru, saying Mabizela had not gone AWOL. “The truth is that he is paying the price of trying to get back into the Bafana Bafana scheme of things. He picked up a cartilage injury a couple of weeks ago. But because he was aware that he is so close to receiving another national call-up, he kept on plugging away but unfortunately he picked up a knock during the MTN8 final against Kaizer Chiefs which necessitated a closer medical attention.”

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