The 24th edition of the Philly’s game tournament has produced flair and summoned many soccer admirers to come in numbers to watch Kasie football. 


In our first conversation with players, Luvo Mlobeli had a conversation with Phuthi “Minaj” Lekoloane, who plays for Umlilo

Minaj is gay and he feels comfortable about himself being gay and playing soccer.
Umlilo was knocked on Sunday morning by The Rebels who scored only one goal and made 4-3 on aggregate.

In an exclusive interview with Mabaleng Sports Reporter Luvo MfokaMlobeli after their Philly’s games in Tembisa.

Question: Firstly, sorry for the loss as a team. Your impression of the game?
Answer: It was a tough game. We came to this game without some of our key players. Others are injured. So we had to reshuffle the positions. We tried our best even thou we did not have our best guys.

Q: We want to know more about you. Your nickname is Nickie Minaj. How did this nickname come about?
A: (laughing) I was given this nickname by the late Shoes Moshoeu. He saw me watching Nickie Minaj video before training and I was twerking. When he saw that he then said I am Nickie Minaj. That’s how it came.

Q: Tell us about the schools you attended in your childhood?
A: When I came to Johannesburg from Polokwane, I attended my primary school at Dr Motshekga Primary school in Rabie ridge. I then went to Aleen Ridge combined school which also in Rabie ridge.

Q: You are one of the goalkeepers who are known, in this township, when did all begin?
A: mmmm..I think it began after school. I didn’t play soccer at school. At school, I was only playing netball. It happened one day that the coach didn’t have a goalkeeper, so they appointed me to the keeper for that day and my soccer career began there. If I’m correct it was around 2009.

Q: Are there goalkeepers in the PSL whom you are looking up to?
A: It can only be Moneeb Joseph

Q: Why Joseph?
A: you can see his character (Chuckling) you feel his character. He is a very vocal goalkeeper.

Q: Speaking about your future, where do you want to see yourself in the next three years?
A: I want to write a book. I want to tell a story about my life. I want to play in the Premier Soccer League and be the first open gay goalkeeper in the PSL. That’s what I want.

Q: Talking about being gay, how do your fellow teammates and soccer fans perceive you?
A: (pausing for a second) you know I was taught by the late John “Shoes” Moshoeu, that you need to sell yourself to the people. I have been through a lot which I wish no soccer player should go through what I went through. I have to be strong for what I believe in. I tell my mum, I tell my peers that if I’m not gay then I am not happy and if I’m not happy I won’t be able to play. Yes, some they don’t understand and some they do but it does not put me down as long as I do my job well.

Q: The name of Shoes Moshoeu keeps on coming up in this conversation, tell us about your relationship with him?
A: It started as a player and coach relationship, but then it ended up being a father and son relationship. We were very close.

Q: There might be soccer players out there who are scared to come out about their sexual orientation, as for you what motivated you to come out and say, this is me, this is Phuthi?
A: I was never in the closet, I have been always open about me being gay.

Q: Besides participating in the Philly’s games, is there any team which you are playing for during the year?
A: Currently I’m playing in the Vodacom league, known as ABC Motsepe Motsepe. I play for Jdr Stars, who are campaigning in the Gauteng ABC Motsepe League.

Q: You are participating in one of the major off-season tournament, the Philly’s Games. How long have you been playing in this tournament?
A: I have been playing in this tournament since 2011, and it has been great I must say.

Q: If you had a chance to speak with Bra Philly, the founder of this tournament, what would you say to him?
A: I would thank him for this tournament, I feel that it’s a good tournament. He needs to be told that he is helping a lot of soccer players to showcase their talent.

Q: Beside sport, what are you doing with your life?
A: I am doing nothing. I am just focusing on sport.

Q: How does it feel to play for Umlilo?
A: God has blessed  me with very respecting players’ and supportive. The fans are great. It has never about me, but about the community

Q: What came to your mind when you saw the third goal in favour of your team, I saw you up in the air?
A: during the game, we were down by 2-0 and I was meditating. When we score that goal it was all thanks to God

Q: Minaj thanks for your time and good luck in all your endeavors
A: Thanks man