Kaizer Chiefs Mthembu

Kaizer Chiefs Team Manager Bobby Motaung and chairman Kaizer Motaung flank Siphelele Mthembu. Image: @kaizerchiefs/X.

Forced to join Pirates over Chiefs: ‘I cried that night’

Remember Siphelele Mthembu at Kaizer Chiefs? Here he is, recalling his controversial move to rivals Orlando Pirates.

Kaizer Chiefs Mthembu

Kaizer Chiefs Team Manager Bobby Motaung and chairman Kaizer Motaung flank Siphelele Mthembu. Image: @kaizerchiefs/X.

Former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates striker Siphelele Mthembu had the two Soweto giants fighting for his signature.


While playing for Maritzburg City in the lower National First Division, Mthembu joined Kaizer Chiefs but had no idea what was about to happen next. Orlando Pirates suddenly claimed that the bulky striker from Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, belonged to the Sea Robbers.

“I was scouted by [Kaizer] Chiefs, I trained with them and everything was signed,” Mthembu told FARPosts Sinethemba Sithole. “My late boss Bongi Hlophe, may his soul rest in peace, I think he had a relationship with Pirates…

“Then after that, I was in camp with Chiefs in Cape Town and I heard that I had signed with Pirates. So, I didn’t understand because Bobby [Motaung] said, ‘Relax we will sort it out’.

“Ever since then, that’s what happened. All I know is that I signed with Chiefs and I don’t remember signing a contract with Pirates.

“I wanted to be with [Kaizer] Chiefs because when I was young I loved the club and my family as well [supported the club]. And when I got there, I was convinced that wouldn’t be my end, I thought I would have an opportunity to go overseas.”

Despite his desperation to play for Kaizer Chiefs, Mthembu was forced to join Pirates against his wishes.

“It was hard [when I left Chiefs], I think I cried that night because I didn’t want that to happen. All I wanted was to play football,” Mthembu added.

“I went to Pirates but I ran away again and I went home. I got a call saying, ‘If you want to play football come. If you don’t want to play football anymore, you’ll be suspended for three years. I didn’t know anything about suspension and I just wanted to be at Chiefs. So I spoke to Bobby and Kaizer [the Motaungs]. Credit must go to them, they sat me down and told me these things happen in football.

“They said just go and enjoy football, if you come back again, you will come back again,” the current Pretoria Callies striker concluded.


Mthembu also lasted two seasons at Pirates (one on loan at Bloemfontein Celtic), before leaving to join Golden Arrows, Platinum Stars and finally Kaizer Chiefs in 2014 until 2017.

The numbers:

  • Mthembu at Orlando Pirates: 3 goals and 3 assists in 37 matches.
  • Mthembu at Kaizer Chiefs: 2 goals and 1 assist in 44 matches.