“I was born in Soweto (Dube) and stayed there until I was about 5 years old,” says 17-year old Bontle Molefe, “I now live in the south of Johannesburg.”
Bontle was promoted to the first team at a tender age of 16 and had to reroute his schooling towards home-schooling, “I was at Verney College and due to my promotion to the first team, I had to do home-schooling. I am now in Grade 11 through the Mulbarton Home-school Centre.”
“I started playing football when I was 7 at Jabez Football (Coached by Lyle Bennet),” recollects Bontle before revealing, “I was very chubby when I was young (chuckles). My mom was very worried about my health – she then took it upon herself to choose a sport for me so I could lose weight and stay healthy. Also, my dad was a football player back in the day, hence my mom chose football for me. And that is how my football career started.”
Bontle says his football journey was propelled by a number of people. “I had a lot of people who helped me become a football player and to reach this level,” says Bontle, “My uncle (helper) who has been working for us since I was 6 used to walk me to training when I had no transport about 4km away from home. He would train me at home when we had days off. My uncle believed that no one deserves a day off until they reached their dreams.”
On his parents, Bontle says: “My mom and dad still play a vital role in my career. They multitask to assist my career development. They serve as transporters, advisors, managers, and just anything you can think of. The rest of my family have also been supportive throughout my whole career, especially my cousins.”
How it began for the youngster was when he was scouted from the South African U17 Men’s team by Kaizer Chiefs’ Reserves goalkeeper coach Rory Minaar (also serving as the juniors National Team coach). He invited Molefe to join Chiefs.
“I have a few coaches that are very supportive on and off the field. I am also happy to see very talented individuals in the junior system who are looking for a breakthrough into the first team just like me. It is good to be a shining light,” says the teenage goalkeeper.
“Coach Lee Baxter has been instrumental in my promotion to the first team. He had been eyeing me since I entered the development system,” reveals Bontle. “He truly has faith in me and was instrumental to my promotion to the first team.”
Bontle points out to challenges of becoming professional player. “It is not easy at all,” he says. “The pressure of being a professional soccer player is a lot. As a youngster in the system, I wish to advise other youngsters who are looking to be professionals to be better prepared mentally and otherwise.”
After training from home for over three months, Bontle is happy to be back in training albeit under strict Covid-19 protocols. “I am happy to be back reunited with the team,” concludes the young goalminder. “We are adapting to the new world progressively and we are preparing to resume matches, hopefully very soon.”