Ex-Tornado striker scores big with move

Former Tornado striker Charlie Hlalele is excited to have finally made it through to the Premier Soccer League after sealing a three-year deal with AmaZulu this week
Former Tornado striker Charlie Hlalele is excited to have finally made it through to the Premier Soccer League after sealing a three-year deal with AmaZulu this week
Image: Randell Roskruge

Former Tornado striker Charlie Hlalele has joined AmaZulu after his stunning performance at the National First Division playoffs that were recently held at the Turfloop University Fields in Polokwane.

Hlalele has signed up with the Durban-based PSL outfit for three seasons with an option to renew on the fourth season.

The Barkley East-born former Orlando Pirates MDC striker, 23, told the Daily Dispatch he always believed he’d play in top-flight football.

“It’s always been my dream to play in PSL, and it did matter which team I’d go to and since the time has finally came,” he said. “I was surprised they wanted me to play for them for more than two seasons, because these big teams always want players for one or two seasons.

“So that shows how serious they are about me, hence I will grab the opportunity with both hands and do my best for the team.”

Hlalele said after having worked so hard throughout the season in the third-tier league, he knew that something would eventually come up, whether they were able to gain promotion to the NFD or not.

“Honestly I knew after these playoffs that something would pop up and I knew it was not going to be easy for me to bounce back into top-flight football – especially to play in the first team.

“Because after I left Pirates MDC I knew that I will make an even better comeback, but I had to give up everything that could compromise my dream.”

He said promotional playoffs are always tough to crack no matter how one prepares, but he was proud to have been part of the team that represented the province at this year’s instalment of the tournament which saw TS Sporting and Maccabi getting promoted.

“It’s not easy going to that tournament because all the teams there have good players and they all want that promotion.

“And you could see that in our group against Buya Msuthu and The Dolphins – we all played draws – no losses.

“The only way they got a group winner was by looking at the goal difference, so these playoffs were as difficult as we expected them to be.

“But coach Tshepo [Motsoeneng] did a great job in preparing us for the games and I think it wasn’t the right time for us to get promoted to NFD – that’s all.”

Hlalele said he was leaving his “second family” at Mdantsane, but he would represent them in the PSL the best way he knows how to.

“I’m going to make that sure that I continue to show what Tornado is all about at AmaZulu because they are all family to me.

“And I will not forget what coach [Motsoeneng] did for us as the team. Hopefully I will get to work with him again in the future.”

Tornado chairman Simphiwo “Mawawa” Nyobo said the club’s mandate was to give players from impoverished areas a chance to put food on the table, and he was delighted to have played a role in Hlalele’s career.

“We want these players to able to feed their families, because most of them are from poor backgrounds.

“So I’m very happy about this. Even the negotiator we commissioned for Charlie, Mandla Tshabalala, who’s an expert in football contracts made sure that this boy was not robbed.

“But must say that I’m happy that one of our boys is moving to the next level.”