“Chillies” as we was fondly known to his football fans by and large, passed-on this morning at hospital after being admitted for weeks.
The cause of his death has not been revealed.
During his heydays with Amakhosi -of which he contributed enormously to success of the team- Thabang had a deadly combination with Thabo “Tsiki-tsiki” Mooki, which had teams defences in six and sevens.
He was loved, adored and followed by Chiefs die-heart fans, particularly since he was a teetotaler. Described as somewhat too big headed, he had to quit Chiefs.
For him to join Pirates from Chiefs since it was uncalled for, in that either team’s players to move from one team to the other, “Chillies” had to go via Ria Stars, owned by the immaculate Ria Ledwaba.
At Bucs’ “Chillies” was the catalyst of the core team which was peppered with the likes of Pollen”Trompies” Ndlanya, Helman “Midnight Express” Mkhalelele and evergreen Brandon “Scepezana” Silent, amongst others.
He mushroomed into a classy player but only just.
After quitting professional football he ventured into music career but that did not see the light of the day.
To augment his income it was extensively reported that he was into taxis, although it was not clear on which capacity.
Despite having fallen out with his family in Orlando, Soweto, he tried to make it up with his ailing mother.
Being a true soldier, he was recruited by one of well known South African football manager’s Mfundisi Mabalane to his organization which deals with coaching clinics, football projects and soccer player’s management.
The organization “Show me your number” campaign had the likes of Jabu “Ngwana wa tshwenya” Mahlangu and other ex-Supersport players on the list.
The emotional Mabalane said also agreed he lost a soldier.
“Despite his downfalls Thabang always carried himself as everything was OK.
That’s what made him to be close to me. His lost is not only to his family but to us as the organization and country.”
Jabu, who has just signed on the dotted lines a year deal with Cape Town Stars, was full of tears when asked for comment.
“Eish, life ain’t fair sometimes. I’ve been burying guys whom I played with lately, and this is a worry for me.
He played a very influential role in football in our country, and hopefully he will be remembered as such. May his soul rest in Peace,” he says.
MEC for Sport in Gauteng Lebogang Maile, also send his message of condolences to the Lebese family.
“Banda, as he was affectionately known in his hey days was one of few players’ who played for two of Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
With SA now directing its concerted effort towards youth sport development, we will miss the renowned footballers of Lebese’s caliber. May his soul rest in Peace!”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been confirmed.