features this week took time to chat to a very religious but still hard as a rock on the field of play, Thabang “Djemba-Djemba” Rooi. He talks about his ambition for next season and how it feels to don the famous Gold & Black jersey.
How does it feel to play for Kaizer Chiefs?
Thabang Rooi: It feels great to play for such a big Club. This is a Club I supported while growing up and playing for the Glamour Boys is a dream come true. I cherish each and every moment I get to wear the Gold and black jersey. It is an absolute honour!
Growing up I admired former Club defender, Lucas Radebe before going overseas.
You seem to be playing off-side trap all the time and at times it exposes our defence...and who would you like to see at the Club next season?
Thabang Rooi: I have never played off side trap since joining Kaizer Chiefs. In fact let me put it this way, we do not play offside trap at Chiefs. We play one on one inside the box and we close spaces when the opposition team moves to our half.
I am a player and it is for Management to decide who joins the team. If I had to choose one player to join us next season it will have to be reliable Manchester United defender, Nemanja Vidic.
Who do you prefer to be partnered with in the heart of the defence?
M. S. Matjena
Thabang Rooi: I am comfortable playing with any of my teammates. It is very important for me to be used in playing with all of them whether it is Jimmy (Tau) or Punch (Masenamela).
What are you planning to do for the community of the Vaal a place where you were born, and who is your favourite player?
Thabang Rooi: I am currently organising a tournament in Sharpeville and just waiting for people that I am working with in the project to confirm dates for me. This is very close to my heart as I started playing soccer in my township in such tournaments. It is also going to give the youngsters an opportunity to showcase their talent and you never know what might happen.
My favourite player is Sehlolo (Abia Nale) and internationally is has to be Nemanja Vidic. When we played against Manchester United in 2008 I did not have a chance to meet him but was glad to see him.
Who is the most difficult striker to deal with in the PSL?
Thabang Rooi: My teammate, Jose Torrealba is the trickiest player to play against in the Premier League. His runs off the ball are unbelievable and he always gives me a hard time at training. I am glad he is my teammate and I do not have to face him week in week out in the PSL.
You tend to be emotional and shout at your fellow defenders. We also know that you are a Christian, but that does not mean you have to disassociate yourself from your teammates...
Thabang Rooi: George do you know me?...(laughing) I am not emotional but during the game it is important for us to communicate as defence. We always play in front of packed stadiums and at times it is difficult to get a message across to my teammate...when you watching television it will appear as if I am shouting, no that is not the case.
I do hang a lot with my teammates in particular Abia Nale. When I am in Joburg, I hang a lot around Metsi (Kabelo Metsimetsi), Spanner (Tlou Molekwane), Jeffrey (Ntuka) and other guys. I will then go straight home to my family after that.
What car are you driving? Are you married and what is the difference between Chiefs and the previous Clubs that you have played for including the coaches?
Thabang Rooi: I am driving an Opel Corsa Utility. I am married to Thandeka and we are blessed with a one-year-old son, Orabile (God has answered our prayers).
Kaizer Chiefs is like national team; it’s huge and is run professionally. I am blessed to have worked with very good coaches here, Muhsin Ertugral and currently, Vladimir Vermezovic. As European born coaches they have brought a lot into my game. I also should pay tribute to the coaches that I have worked with before, Page Mahlangu and Themba Mthombeka (Tembisa Classic), Costa Papic (Maritzburg United) and Kenny Ndlanzi (Aces).
What is it that you are going to do next season to show us that your name must be the first one on the team-sheet?
Thabang Rooi: (cutting in) Work hard! I am planning to work more hard than I have done this season. It is my dream to start each and every game next season like I have done in my previous teams.
Have you got a nickname? I would like to give you one, “Stop non-sense”...
Thabang Rooi: (laughing) I have couple of nicknames, like “Djemba-Djemba” and in my township the like to call me “Kompela” after former Bafana Bafana captain and Kaizer Chiefs defender, Steve Kompela who used to wear jersey no. 4 in the national team. It is also the reason I am wearing the same number at Chiefs.
I am already called, “Stop non-sense” at Mabopane and it is my job to stop opposition strikers from scoring (laughing). Thank you Spa!
Do you watch your previous games to see what you have done wrong and how you can improve?
Thabang Rooi: Yes, I do! We are lucky at the Club to have Kenny (Dambe) who avails the games for us so that we can track our performances and always try to improve.