He is one of the longest-serving campaigners in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), and Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker reveals the Soweto giants showed interest back in 2009 before his departure to Serbia, saying he is not thinking about hanging up his boots as yet.
Having joined the Naturena-based club in 2011, the veteran Amakhosi attacker claims he would be on the scoresheet on a regular basis if he is played as an outright striker, saying it was difficult growing up in a shack in Reiger Park.
‘Die Hond’ says his longevity in the game is due to the lessons he learned at the School of Excellence, where he was taught to work hard on his shortcomings to fine-tune his skills.
“Chiefs approached me before I left [to Serbia]. I even came for a tour of Chiefs' village [in Naturena], but I kept my promise that I’d come back,” Parker told the CityPress print edition.
“I haven’t even thought about retirement because I’m still going strong. My game’s more about mental fortitude and calculating the right moves.”
Speaking about his qualities, where he has been a key figure for the PSL table-toppers, the former Bafana Bafana striker added that he’s not a special player.
“I’m not a special player, but I was taught three things at the School of Excellence: work on what I lack, work on my weaknesses and polish my positives,” added the former Red Star Belgrade player.
“If I can go back and play as an outright striker, I’ll definitely be on the scoresheet."
Looking back at his humble beginnings in a small township in the East Rand [Ekurhuleni], the 34-year-old hitman credits his former school teacher Denzel Bezuidenhout for laying a foundation in his career.
“It was difficult growing up in Reiger Park because it’s an environment of crime, gangsterism, and drugs,” he continued.
“I grew up in a shack with my mum and my brother. Had I not gone to the School of Excellence, I might be easily have succumbed to bad influences.
"I learned to see life in a different way at the school because it moulded us into better footballers and people.”
As he remains an important member of coach Ernst Middendorp's squad, Parker has featured in 23 games for Chiefs across all competitions this term and has provided two assists.