Hard running left back, Punch Masenamela showed nerves of steel as he took a penalty to beat veteran goalkeeper, Brain Baloyi as he made his first appearance for the Club back in Telkom Charity Cup in August 2008. He found it difficult to break into the team due to the presence of Onismor Bhasera. Vladimir Vermezovic has shown faith ion the Senwabarwana, Limpopo born player as he featured regularly last season. He takes time to talk to kaizerchiefs.com
about his ambitions to play for Bafana Bafana and his future with the Phefeni Glamour Boys.
I just want to know if you are aware of how much we fans believe in your abilities as a left back and what are you planning to do to take away the Bafana Bafana left back position from Tshepo Masilela. I believe that you are ahead of both Innocent Mdledle and Kevin Richtie…
Punch Masenamela: Yeah, I am aware and I am grateful forof the support I am getting from each and every one of you. On the national team, I think it depends if I am playing regularly at Kaizer Chiefs and that I am on top of my game. Ift that happens then there is a chance of me breaking into Bafana Bafana.
I have watched Masilela and I think he is one of the best in this position. Hise strength is that he seldom loses the ball and attacks all the time without getting exposed at the back. He also plays in Europe where he gets to play in the Champions League.
Punch, many players have nicknames, what is your nickname and who is the toughest opposition striker you have come across in the PSL?
T-Bose, Cape Town
Punch Masenamela: (Laughing) No, I cannot think of any player in the league who is the toughest. As for the nickname, I have been called ‘Punch’ since my childhood. I think people thought ‘Punch’ was a nickname. Punch is my name and I am happy to be called Punch.
I used to watch you playing at Makgulong Stadium in Tembisa. What car are you driving and what are you doing besides playing soccer?
Punch Masenamela: Thank you for your support and I also remember playing there during my time in the lower ranks. I am driving a Polo Playa and studying Safety Management with Unisa. I hope to finish my course next year.
Being born in Senwabarwana, have you encouraged or hinted scouts to have a look at some of the raw talent in that area?
Punch Masenamela: Yes for sure! There is a lot of talent back home and that there is no team participating in the PSL is depriving most of the youngsters an opportunity to play at the highest level. It would be nice if someone can open an Academy there to nurture the youngsters.
How different is Gauteng to Limpopo from the footballing point of view?
Punch Masenamela: Young players growing in Gauteng have more opportunities as compared to the ones back into my province. In Gauteng for instance there are no less than six teams playing in the PSL while back home there is not a single team as this point in time.
How do you as a Chiefs player feel when you are wearing the badge with the Native American Chief’s head knowing that it means you are not doing only for yourself and your family but for everyone associated with the Club?
Punch Masenamela: (Taking a long pause) It is a feeling that is hard to put into words. It feels like a dream. I mean everywhere you go, everyone recognizes you. They treat you with respect. What is important isto be to be respectful back to them back.
I like the way you play, you remind me of Rudolph Seale. Keep it up and see you soon in Bafana Bafana!
Punch Masenamela: Thanks Dave! I have had an opportunity to meet Gardner Seale when he and other legends were at the Village. I also met him at the stadium the other day and he encouraged me to keep up the good work. I remember him growing up as one of the best-left backs in the country and it felt good after speaking to him.
I like you when you go forward if VV (Vladimir Vermezovic) can start with two strikers we can win more games.
Punch Masenamela: It is a decision of the coach to play one or two strikers. I believe that we can win games as long as we follow the instructions of the coach. Sometimes we start with one striker but you will see that when we attack we do so in numbers. It depends onto the coach really; my job is to do my job on the field of play.
Do you see yourself more as a defender or attacker?
Punch Masenamela: I am more of an attacker. I watched guys like Patrice Evra from Manchester United who also is very good when attacking. I also like Maxwell at Barcelona.
How do you handle the challenge of competing with strong players for the starting eleven?
Punch Masenamela: I always make sure that I train hard and please the coach at training. The coach always says that we need to push hard at training even if you feel you are about to die because this makes it easy during the game. This is something we have taken very seriously as we aim to do much better than we did last season.
How is life in Gauteng having been born in Limpopo?
Punch Masenamela: Life in here can be very fast and demanding. I spend most of my time indoors. I like to hang out with my best friend, Lebo Molekwa and teammate George Lebese. I also visit my parents a lot in Kempton Park a lot.
I am very close to my mother, Onica. I have never taken any of her adviceses for granted. We are six at home and the family is looking up to me…I cannot disappoint them.