Innocent Mdledle

Innocent Mdledle. Images via Twitter @makwande_m, YouTube screen shot /TK Solutions

Not so Innocent: Where is ex-Orlando Pirates star Mdledle now?

From playing for Orlando Pirates to almost making a move to Spurs and Portsmouth. Where is retired defender Innocent Mdledle now?

Innocent Mdledle

Innocent Mdledle. Images via Twitter @makwande_m, YouTube screen shot /TK Solutions

Considered one of the best left wingers to play for Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in the 2000s, Matatiele-born Innocent Mdledle was well on his way to playing in England. However, his dream did not come to fruition.

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Mdledle, who is now 37 years old, started his professional career at Witbank Spurs in 2004. He joined the Sea Robbers in 2005.

Whilst a Buccaneer, the defender impressed English side Portsmouth which invited him for trials in 2008 – according to the Daily Mail.

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in 2009, he joined Mamelodi Sundowns, where he stayed until 2012 before going to SuperSport United and eventually defunct Mpumalanga Black Aces.

He was also part of the South African team at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and his last Bafana Bafana call-up was on 17 August 2013 against Burkina Faso.

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While Mdledle was a sought-after player, his career was later marred by drunken driving and assault scandals in 2015. According to IOL at the time, the retired footballer was arrested in December for driving under the influence and assaulting two police officers.

That was not Mdledle’s first encounter with the law as the defender was arrested by police in Sunnyside, Pretoria, on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2011.

Innocent Mdledle at Sundowns. Image via Twitter @ian_Mahlatse

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In February 2023, Mdledle addressed his drinking scandals, admitting that alcohol destroyed his career. He however, denied ever beating up police officers, telling YouTube podcaster TK on Off The Pitch with TK that it was the cops beat him up.

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During his interview, the former soccer star – who said he was a “Problem Child” at Sundowns – opened up about Masandawana coach at the time, Johan Neeskens, who gave him a chance to go rehab which he rejected.

“I wouldn’t blame Neeskens that much because I was already a flop. I was already drinking too much. So, much so that it wasn’t right.

“Neeskens suggested rehab, and I said, ‘no, I don’t want it’. You know… I don’t have alcohol problems. My only problem is stopping once I have started drinking. I can stay the whole month without drinking alcohol, no problem. But once I start drinking, stopping becomes a problem,” Mdledle added.

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He also made shocking claims that the Pirates denied him the opportunity to join English Premier League (EPL) club Tottenham Hotspur.

“Overseas move happened when we were playing against Tottenham [during Vodacom Challenge].

“Unfortunately, the deal ended in the office [Orlando Pirates offices] because they never told me about the deal,” he said.

Mdledle is currently working for the Sports Rep Academy. He is also started the Innocent Mdledle Primary Schools League in 2022 in Witbank.