Vilakazi sends a heartfelt message of gratitude to Irvin Khoza

Former Orlando Pirates talisman Benedict “Tso” Vilakazi has expressed his gratitude to renowned Bucs chairman Irvin Khoza for the role he played in his football career.

Vilakazi was speaking during the Betway 12th Man event at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.

The little Napoleon, as Vilakazi was also fondly known during his playing days, was unveiled as one of the 12 former athletes that will be part of a programme to upskill former athletes raging from football, netball, boxing, martial arts and canoeing in an effort to increase their employment chances, courtesy of the betting company.

“I would like to thank Dr Irvin Khoza for allowing me to represent one of the biggest clubs on the continent, the Orlando Pirates,” Vilakazi told Sunday World.

“I wouldn’t be where I am and standing here today if it were not for him. So, I will always be grateful to the Orlando Pirates.”

Vilakazi also opened up about how Khoza landed him at the Sea Robbers, saying that he went as far as meeting his parents parents for their permission to sign Vilakazi.

He promised to look after me

“He [Khoza] will always be a father to me. He came to my family and spoke to my [biological] father, promising to look after me as his own son.

“And because of that, when I finally went to the Pirates, I told myself that I would die for that team because of what he did, coming to my home and requesting that I join his club.

“He has been good to me; he has been a father, and that will never change. That’s why I will always be grateful to him, and I am honoured to have been part of the club’s success.

“All of that would not have been possible if it weren’t for his visit to my house to ask my parents to [allow me to] wear the black and white [jersey].”

Vilakazi also said Khoza guided him during his eight-year spell at the Pirates and throughout his career.

“As a young boy growing up, I would make a lot of mistakes, and as a father, he would pull me to the side and give me a serious talk,” Vilakazi added.

“Even if I cried, he would be firm on me until I came around, because there were times when I felt like not playing anymore because of too much pressure.

“One thing about him is that he is very smart. He can be very strict and make you feel that a father figure is talking, but I am honoured and very grateful for the opportunity that he gave me.”

Some of the Betway 12th man include former cricketers Ayavuya Myoli and Mangaliso Mosehle; former footballers Benson Mhlongo, Maud Khumalo and Janine van Wyk; former netball stars Phumza Maweni and Nontle Gwavu; former Canoe Bridgette Hartley; rugby player Morgan Newman; MMA’s Dino Bagattin and retired boxing champion Hector Budler.

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  1. Tso is a two faced. When you are with the chubby nkululeko my brother and that nyaoupe sniffing junior khanye you spoke bad about piratwhile the Teo promote their beloved zebra.

    • Stru bro, now that he’s down and out he remembers our Chairman. He quickly forgot that the Chairman ensured that he was not jailed for the rape of a minor.


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