Any time Moroka Swallows are playing soccer, and you hear a great roar from the crowd, you will know one thing -‘Who’s Fooling Who’ Hlongwane has scored yet another goal. And when you see a well-built man, running with the ball, past the other team to the goals, know that the man is “Who’s Fooling Who’ Hlongwane.
Learn and Teach went to see this man who scored more goals than anyone else last year. We went to the George Goch Stadium where ‘Who’s Fooling Who’ trains with his team, Moroka Swallows (Ltd) – or ‘The Birds’ as people call them.
DUSTY STREETS AND TENNIS BALLS
‘Who’s Fooling Who’ was more than happy to speak to us. “I was born twenty five years ago at Temba Township in Bophuthatswana, “Who’s Fooling Who’ told us. “Like all kids from the townships, I started playing soccer in the dusty streets with a tennis ball.”
“I used to play football at school. And at weekends I played for my father’s team which is well-known in Bophuthatswana. I am from a family of football lovers, even my mother loves football.”
“People used to tell me that I played football very well. But I just played football because I loved it. I thought that they were just talking. I never dreamt That I would one day play for one of the big teams.”
NO MONEY TO STUDY
“I wanted to be a lawyer. I finished my matric but I could not go to university. My parents did not have money. So I stayed at home and played football. I told myself that one day I was going to be a great footballer.”
“My big chance came in 1978. I started playing for Arcadia Fluoride. For the first three years that I played for Arcadia, I was chosen as Footballer of the Year.”
Soccer lovers will never forget that Moroka Swallows bought ‘Who’s Fooling Who’ from Arcadia for R22 000. It was the most money to be paid for a football player in 1982.
For a while, people called ‘Who’s Fooling Who’; Mr R22 000. But soon his fans changed his name to ‘Who’s Fooling Who’. The words come from a song which people loved. But the name was given to ‘Who’s Fooling Who’ because of the way he plays football. He fools the other players when he dribbles.
NO ROUGH PLAY, PLEASE
“I love football very much,” ‘Who’s Fooling Who’ said, “But it must be clean. I hate rough games. Some players forget that they are playing a game. Then they get rough. That is bad. Rough play kills the good name that football has.”
“I also do not like the way some referees run the game. Sometimes they do not control the game well – or they make unfair decisions. It is not good for football. It turns football into a circus.”
JOMO SONO IS KING
We asked ‘Who’s Fooling Who’, who his favourite soccer player is.”My hero is Jomo Sono of Jomo Cosmos. I started liking him when I was a boy. Jomo Sono is the king of football. He has got his own beautiful way of playing. Jomo thinks quickly and he never grows old”.
FAMILY MAN AND STUDENT
We asked’ Who’s Fooling Who’ what he does when he is not scoring goals for Swallows. “I read a lot,” ‘Who’s fooling who’ told us. “I have a diploma in Business Management and Administration. I am now studying for my degree in Business Management and Administration with the University of Bophuthatswana.”
“I also like listening to music. I like a group called The O’Jays and Kenny Rogers. But most of all I like to spend time with my family.”
“My wife’s name is Margaret Hlongwane. And we have a beautiful seven year old daughter. I live with my parents and my wife. Margaret likes football as much as I do. She is my number one fan. She watches me every time I play,” said ‘Who’s Fooling Who’, smiling.
‘WHO’S FOOLING WHO’ TRAINS
We wanted to know what makes ‘Who’s Fooling Who’ such a good player. “I train twice a day,” ‘Who’s Fooling Who’ told us. “In the morning I run. And in the afternoon I train again with my team.”
“Training is very important. But you must look after yourself too. I make sure that I have a good night’s sleep every night. I also watch what I eat. I eat a lot of traditional Shangaan food, especially pap and chicken cooked with peanuts.”
“My advice for youngsters who want to become football stars is: You must practice everyday. You must eat good food and you must not drink or smoke. Drinking and smoking is not good for your health.”
And if you have seen ‘Who’s Fooling Who’, you will know that his advice is good. Who’s Fooling Who’ is very fit and healthy. But more than that, he is one of the best football players in South Africa today.