Ex-Amakhosi, Golden Arrows midfielder joins Bizana Pondo Chiefs

Nale back in football after learning life’s lessons

New Bizana Pondo Chiefs signing Abia Nale during a spell at Maritzburg United in 2016.
LONG BREAK: New Bizana Pondo Chiefs signing Abia Nale during a spell at Maritzburg United in 2016.
Image: ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES

 

Former Golden Arrows and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Abia Nale has made a comeback to SA soccer after three years by signing with GladAfrica Championship outfit Bizana Pondo Chiefs.

Nale, who also played for Ajax Cape Town, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Maritzburg United, stepped out of the professional scene in 2018 after matters went south at Platinum Stars.

During this time away he focused on family, education and building his football academy.

He now has diplomas in sports management, project management and property investment management, and says education is of absolute importance to him.

He now brings a wealth of experience to the Pondo Chiefs side, both on and off the field, and many young players are likely to be star-struck with the new addition.

“For me, it is very important to keep your mind busy and broad for the future.

“To prepare for life after football and build your IQ to have more understanding when you go to the field of play,” Nale said.

“Modern football requires a lot of thinking on and off the field because there are tactics and lots of instructions from the coaches.

“So being [educated] can help you focus and have more understanding of what the coaches want you to do.

“I want to be successful in all the areas of my life.

“Challenging myself with new things every time and I wanted those diplomas to add to that dream I achieved of becoming what I wanted to be when I was young.

“Luckily I managed to come out with those three diplomas.”

During the prime of his soccer career, there was a certain fame that came with being Abia Nale on the field.

He dealt with it well because he was never in the news for the wrong reasons.

He said being humble, respectful and hard-working helped him deal with the spotlight.

“I knew football is a short-term career — one day people will forget about me  — but was important was me doing my best and getting the rewards later.

“You have to respect the God-given talent, then God will open doors that can make you feel special more than being in the spotlight,” the 34-year-old said.

The break the former Platinum Stars player took was a big part of his life.

It introduced him to normal life, unlearning the life on the road that comes with football. It brought him closer to his family and gave him a glimpse of the future.

“The break was an eye-opener, preparing me for life after football.

“It helped me understand the value of the family as I’ve never stayed with them. My break helped me raise my kids and spend more time with my wife than I did before.

“Getting to be at home every day raising kids was very, very difficult.

“I’m proud of my wife for the way she handled everything alone while I was busy with soccer because that is a lot of work.

“It’s a work in progress, I thought it will be easy but to build something needs a lot of patience and hard work.”

Nale will now switch his focus to helping coach Tshepo Motsoeneng’s side in their quest to maintain their status in the GladAfrica Championship.

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