Ailing Thuso Phala forced to hang up soccer boots

“I am officially retiring from professional football… It has been unofficial but now I’m saying it official, and it kind of hits home because this is it. I am retiring from the game.

It is not something I say and get to think about it but now I am thinking about it.

“It is emotional actually because I have met great people through football and I have travelled across the continent because it has been my life for 15 years of my life.”

These are the words of former Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United star in an interview with sports-caster, Robert Marawa.

Thuso Phala has silently been battling health complications and spent the festive season in and out of hospital, according to a deep throat.

This was confirmed by various sources close to the midfielder, that he has been forced into retirement late last year following advice from his medical team.

It is understood that  Soweto-born Phala,37, was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital in November and again last month for treatment of undisclosed complications.

“When I spoke to him, he had just been released from hospital in December.

“He did not say what was wrong, but he had some health complications and was admitted, and got treatment for that,” a friend of the soccer star said.

The friend also added that Phala started experiencing health issues in October, and upon consultation with his medical team, he was advised to retire from soccer due to his failing health.

“He was in and out of hospital and obviously doctors always fear the worst. So, they told him to let go of his first love, which is football, to save his life,” the friend added.

Another source added that friends where scared that the footballer might suffer the same fate visited on other public figures who were previously diagnosed with serious conditions.

Phala was not immediately available for comment and did not answer calls, and he did not respond to text messages sent to him.

It appears the footballer heeded the call by his doctors. In a radio interview with Robert Marawa in November, he conceded he was hanging up his boots, heeding a call by his doctors to call it quits, adding he had already retired from football but had not done so officially.

The footballer has had an illustrious and yet tumultuous 17-year career at big teams including Kaizer Chiefs,  Sundowns and SuperSport United.

He has also represented South Africa in international  football.

Phala’s career was also marked by episodes of alleged ill-discipline. In 2019, SuperSport United released from the team after a string of off-field esscapades.

Later that year, after joining Black Leopards, he apologised to United for his troubles.

The following year Leopards sacked him for “misconduct”.

Last year, Phala admitted to falsifying his age earlier in his career for the sake of playing in youth football competitions.

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