Orlando Pirates

Alcohol abuse in the PSL: Orlando Pirates’ former star reveals all

We’ve heard many unconfirmed reports. This Orlando Pirates former goalkeeper has now revealed alcohol drinking in the PSL is real.

Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates’ former goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo has confirmed that local players have a major drinking problem. He was an alcoholic before overcoming it to live a sober life.


During a recent candid chat on the MacG podcast, Brighton Mhlongo said he and his former teammates seriously hit the bottle.

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Mhlongo said that part of the motivation to drink is caused by the stresses that come with living as a professional footballer. He said that many of the drinking binges occur after matches, especially if the result has been severely disappointing.

The 31-year-old from Soweto added to say he would often go to training half-drunk after a sleepless night.

Mhlongo at Pirates before a horrific eye injury cut his career short. Image: @OfficialPSL / Twitter

“With us, once or twice you would go to training sloshed,” Mhlongo, whose eye injury forced him to retire young, said on the MacG podcast.

“I remember I would come out of Kong and would hear hooters [of early morning traffic]… eish training… we’re training at 09:00. It’s 08:00 and ngiyaphuma eKong. 

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“I live in Ruimsig. Training is in Turffontein. There is no way I am going to Ruimsig. I shoot straight to training,” the prematurely retired star added.

“Get there, cold shower… hayi si right ntwana. Anjani amahlelo wami?” “You would be surprised. I am not saying it is the right thing, but when you know angilalanga, that is when you push the most.

“Everyone knows that you were out and you’re drunk, so you need to put in the work.

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“It was week in, week out, yilala vuka. I would wake up looking at the ceiling and think ‘hey this is not my place.”

The Orlando Pirates development product also added to swear that he never played a match drunk though.

The former Bafana Bafana keeper, who got his call-ups under Shakes Mashaba further made examples of players who fall off the rails because after joining the wrong clubs for big money.

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“You find players who signed big contracts but end up asking themselves ‘what I am doing here?’ “So you’re getting all the money and you’re not playing. Do you know what that leads to? 

“You were the talk of the town before that but now you’re not playing. What are you going to do for people to see you? You will socialise at parties. I need to stay relevant. 

“You want to show them ‘ok, I’m not playing but I’ve got the money,” Mhlongo said.

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Mhlongo also revealed that the murder of Orlando Pirates’ former goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa threw the team into a deep depression as a collective.

The group soon found their own way of dealing with the trauma by drinking alcohol together while also avoiding the public’s eye.

“There was a very difficult period that we went through, especially around the period when we lost uSenzo [Meyiwa]. 

“We didn’t get enough time to deal with that. We probably had one therapy session. I just wanted to go get a bottle and drown my sorrows.

“Footballers realised it’s better when we go as a group. It’s either we are celebrating or consoling ourselves.

“We felt that we are the only ones who understand each other and what we are going through right now,” the former Orlando Pirates number one said.

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