Former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Eleazar Rodgers speaks out about his stint in Johannesburg and why he failed to make his mark under coach Pitso Mosimane.
The former Cape Town Santos hitman says the arrival of 'Jingles' in 2012 meant he had to leave the club as the competition was stiff, and explains why he could not score enough goals to ensure he remained with the club.
Although he was eventually loaned out to Ajax Cape Town, the 34-year-old also reflects on the longevity of former People’s Team defender Wayne Arendse, who is still part of the reigning Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions squad.
“At Sundowns I think we had like seven strikers that season, so the competition was quite stiff, and the team also wasn’t at its best at that time as there was a lot of rotation of the squad,” Rodgers told FARPost.
“But I think I had a fair amount of games; I should have scored more goals because I had a lot of opportunities. It was unfortunate that the following season after I joined, I wasn’t part of the plans of the coach, Pitso [Mosimane] when he came there so that is when I was sent on loan to Ajax.
“But these things do happen [being sent out on loan] it’s part of the game when new coaches come, and coaches go.
“At that time I felt like I had just achieved something good you know, moving to Joburg to play for Sundowns and then when I went on loan I was like ‘eish now I must go back to Cape Town’ it’s like I felt like my dream was over you know.
"But God had other plans, he just wanted to re-direct my path.”
When asked about his former Santos teammate who is still commanding a regular spot at Chloorkop under Mosimane, the lanky striker has credited Arendse who has won four PSL titles with the Tshwane giants.
“Yes, I agree [that some of his teammates fell off the radar], if you look now it’s only me and Wayne Arendse who are still playing,” added Rodgers.
“I think it’s a blessing and also a reflection of who we are as players you know, how we conduct ourselves, and how we treat the game. Along with that, it is the hard work that we put in, ultimately, it’s our attitude you know, if you respect the game you will go far.
“Wayne and I, our characters are similar and that has contributed to a lot. So, it’s something that can be respected or something to look up to
“I think myself and Wayne have developed that type of attitude and that’s been key in our success as well, along with our hard work.”
The Kuilsriver-born veteran was a key figure for the Urban Warriors this season as they sit at the top of the National First Division (NFD) log when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.