‘I’ve opened a little vape shop’: clubless ex-Kaizer Chiefs defender

After being out of contract for over a year, a former Kaizer Chiefs defender has opened up about his strategies for maintaining financial stability.

This story highlights a growing concern: the financial challenges faced by many South African footballers after retirement or during periods without a club.

Keegan Ritchie, who played for various clubs in the PSL including the Soweto giants, Chiefs, has been a free agent since parting ways with Maritzburg United last year following their relegation to the Motsepe Foundation Championship.

Ritchie reveals that he tried his utmost to find a club after leaving the Team of Choice, however, he couldn’t get offers. To generate earnings, he then decided to open a vape shop in Pietermaritzburg, KZN where he is based.

He insisted he has yet to call it a day in playing football, but disclosed that he’ll soon be looking to venture into coaching as the next career.

WHAT FORMER KAIZER CHIEFS DEFENDER HAS BEEN DOING TO GENERATE INCOME

“I’m still staying in KZN, I just opened a little vape shop,” he revealed to FAPost.

“It’s doing quite well but obviously that’s not my passion. I’d like to go to coaching.

“I’d like also to do grassroots development coaching, you know from the ages of like 13. That’s where my passion is.

“That’s what I’m gonna be doing in the near future.”

Missing the thrill of the pitch, Ritchie sets his sights on the new season as he prepares for a return to action. He stated he doesn’t mind to turn out for a club in the second-tier should the opportunity come his way.

“I’m missing it [football] quite a bit,” he added.

“If you’re out of the game for the whole season, you know clubs are looking at you and like, ‘why you’ve been out for so long?’

“So, I’m missing the game, I’d love to, if I can, come back this season in the NFD or PSL this coming season.”

The 33-year-old, Ritchie is confident that he can offer his services for more three years before he hangs up his boots. He also says he’s no longer expecting big payments as he’s interested in just enjoying the game.

‘AS LONG AS I CAN GO BACK AND PLAY’

“That’s probably the reason…the clubs feel like if they do sign me, they have to pay me crazy amount of money,” he explained.

“But I’m at a point of my life where I don’t need a lot. As long as I can go back and play.

“I don’t need to earn a lot of money. I just want to go back and enjoy the game.

“I know that I have…could be two or three years left in me. So, yeah if I get a chance I’ll grab it with both hands.”

Afrik-Foot understands that Royal AM was among the clubs Ritchie approached after leaving Maritzburg. However, their FIFA-imposed transfer ban from last year prevented them from signing him.

“I spoke to a few a clubs and obviously the coaches that I know,” he added.

“It became difficult, you have your Travis Graham, it also took them quite a few months before they found a team.

“I basically haven’t had anything from them [clubs] since.

“It would be good to start a pre-season with a team so that I can get fit and strong.”

Ritchie began his career at SuperSport where he came through the youth ranks before a loan spell with Moroka Swallows. Matsatsantsa eventually let him go to the Dube Birds permanently in 2009 where he shone for two years and was, subsequently, signed by Chiefs.

He also played for Slavia Prague, Bloemfontein Celtic, SuperSport United (second stint), Bidvest Wits, Swallows (second stint) before going down to KwaZulu-Natal to join Maritzburg.

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.