Katlego Mphela

Katlego Mphela. Images via Twitter @bongani_xanko, @ronewa_mathephe

Katlego ‘Killer’ Mphela: Where’s ex-Sundowns and Bafana star now?

Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs star Katlego Mphela was and is the striker with the best goals to game ratio in a Bafana jersey.

Katlego Mphela

Katlego Mphela. Images via Twitter @bongani_xanko, @ronewa_mathephe

The name Katlego Mphela needs no introduction in the South African football fraternity.

The Brits-born striker, who is 38 years old, was nicknamed “Killer” because of his lethal finishing ability on the field of play.

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Mphela is a product of Jomo Cosmos, where he started his professional football career and spent the 2003/2004 season. After just one season, he was off to France to play for RC Strasbourg Alsace and later, Stade de Reims.

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In 2006, he returned to Mzansi to join Pretoria – based side SuperSport United, netting 10 goals in 64 appearances. It was his time at Matsantsantsa’s arch-rivals, Mamelodi Sundowns, however, where Mphela’s goal pouching abilities took l centre stage. Killer spend six seasons with Masandawana, scoring 48 goals for the club.

During the 2009/2010 season, he scored 17 goals in 30 games which made him the league’s top goalscorer – subsequently winning the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award and the PSL Players’ Player of the Season.

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Killer Mphela made his debut for the South Africa national team, Bafana Bafana on 26 February 2005 where he scored two goals. He scored a an impressive 23 goals in 53 appearances for Bafana.

For the national team, he featured and scored during the 2008 African Nations Cup, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup  as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup where he scored against Mexico and France.

Egypt vs South Africa
Egypt’s defender Wael Gomaa (R) vies with South African forward Katlego Mphela (L) during their Africa Cup of Nations 2012 qualifying football match in Johannesburg on March 26, 2011 at Ellis Park Stadium. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER JOE (Photo by ALEXANDER JOE / AFP)

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Mphela has also had stints with the Glamour Boys, Kaizer Chiefs, in 2014, before moving to Shauwn “MaMkhize” Mkhize’s former club Royal Eagles – which she co-owned with her estranged husband, Sbu Mpisane.

After being clubless for two years, Mphela announced his retirement in August 2019 at the age of 34.

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In 2017, Mphela was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as his then-girlfriend, Pulane Lenkoe, accused him of assault.

At the time, Pulane was well-known for making headlines when her nude pics were shared without her consent and circulated on social media in 2015. The influencer and law student at the time, shared pictures of the bruises she sustained in her face due to the alleged punches from Mphela.

In 2020, The Citizen reported that Mphela had appeared at the Middelburg Magistrates Court on charges of assault and common robbery. It was reported that after beating up Pulane during lockdown, he stole her cell phone.

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This was not the former Sundowns striker’s first run-in with the law. In 2011, he was arrested on a charge of drunken driving in Sandton, Johannesburg – IOL reported.

“Bad boy” Mphela also pulled a disappearing act in 2014 for Bafana Bafana, according to Eye Witness News.

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Though he has retired from football, Mphela still keeps fit. In March 2023, Newzroom Afrika caught up with former striker at the mountains of Lesotho for the annual Moshoeshoe Walk.

Mphela also runs his Non-profit Organization called the Katlego Mphela Foundation which he established in 2020. He also has a private soccer training programme for 7 – 18 years old where children are taught speed co-ordination, technical exercises, technical drills and skills development.

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In March 2022, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in the North West Sports Recognition Awards.

Taking tto his Instagram he write: “Not everyone gets to experience this type of acknowledgment and I’m extremely grateful that I am able to receive it myself and experience this overflow of emotion. Thank you for honoring me whilst I’m still alive, I am deeply humbled.”