From Pitch To Prison: Former SA Soccer Star Now A Prison Warder


Many soccer fans in South Africa will never forget Lungisani Ndlela in a hurry. Ndlela, a former Bafana Bafana striker stood out among his colleagues because of his height. He was one of the world’s tallest footballer. He has an outstanding height of 2.00 m (6 ft 6 12 in).

As it stands now, the towering striker is no longer dropping cash on his table with his legs rather, he is having a nice time with prison inmates. All may not have gone down well with Ndlela following his sudden demise from limelight.

However, the former star has crawled out from his hole again. This time, not as a footballer everyone knows him to be, rather as a prison warder in Mpumalanga. He has been commended for his gigantic step in taking up correctional services studies. He currently guards some of the country’s dangerous criminals in Witbank.

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Irrespective of that, while many have openly sympathize with the former star in his current situation, considering his previous flamboyant lifestyle, some other persons have maintained opposite views about his present job.

Daily Sun reports that Ndlela’s friends have admired his decision to start up something after quitting football. One of them said, “Lungi has done well for himself. At least he’s got an income, unlike other former soccer stars who prefer to live on handouts,” one of Ndlela’s friends told Daily Sun.

Another friend also commented: “Lungi is popular in prison as people still recognise him. He’s jolly but takes his job seriously.”

A third pal of his was so funny when he said: “He walks tall, unlike his peers who are struggling.”

The former soccer star was not available for comments.

Ndlela was a super star during his prime time as Bafana Bafana striker. Also, he was Moroka Swallows, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns hot striker during his blossoming days. Notably, he possessed a lethal left foot that spell doom in the defence as he set to pour in goals in almost every match.

In 2001, he trained with Vodacom League club Alexandra United after postponing his proposed move to Indonesia. He had spent his past season at First Division club United FC where he sought refuge after seven years in the Premiership at Moroka Swallows, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns. He later left United having scored five goals for the club.

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