Alumni Focus | The Journey from School Football to the PSL

In the world of sports, dreams do come true. For Owethu Khumalo, a former learner at King’s, it’s a testament to the dedication, hard work, and talent that began with playing at school and led to becoming a professional football player. Owethu’s ascent from school football to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is a narrative worth celebrating. An alumnus of The King’s College, class of 2022, Owethu recently sat down with us to share his journey and future ambitions.

Above: Mr Lungi Damoyi with Owethu

Owethu has always exhibited great talent on the football field. As attested by his coaches at both school and club levels, his exceptional talent was evident, but his rise to play in the PSL at only the age of 19 has surpassed most expectations. His football journey commenced at age 11 when he joined The King’s College. Coached by Mr. M (Moses Mathopa), Owethu began honing his skills. Reflecting on this period, he recalls, “He (Mr. M) introduced me to soccer, and I was terrible at the start. I began playing for the under-11B Team, but he nurtured my development, and I also started playing club football for Bryanston Warriors.” This phase laid the groundwork for his passion, with King’s and Mr. M providing a supportive environment crucial to his growth. Owethu acknowledges, “He taught me the basics—what a player needs to do on and off the field and how to conduct himself.” The discipline instilled by Mr. M became the foundation of Owethu’s journey, emphasising self-confidence, hard work, and resilience.

Owethu’s journey progressed through various stages—from playing school football for King’s to joining Bryanston Warriors, then representing Randburg in the GDL, and finally securing his first professional contract with the Dube Birds—Moroka Swallows. Each level presented unique challenges, and according to Owethu, the transition from Randburg FC to Swallows entailed the most significant adjustments. “In the DDC, everyone’s there to prove they belong to their senior team. There is a real hunger. In the PSL, the focus is more on tactics. It’s not just about skill; it’s about understanding the game, making good decisions, knowing what you will do with the ball before receiving it, and having mental strength because you are now playing with experienced players.”

Under the guidance of Moroka Swallows coach, the renowned Steve Komphela, Owethu has not only developed as a player but also matured as an individual. Describing Komphela, Owethu affirms, “Coach Steve is not just a coach. He’s more of a father figure to us, a mentor, a life coach.” Komphela’s coaching philosophy is based on teamwork and selflessness, fostering a culture of humility and responsibility beyond the pitch for his players. “He emphasizes that it’s never a one-man show. He says we are a team. And as long as the team excels, individuals will shine too.”

Reflecting on the lessons learned from King’s and the King’s Leadership Academy (KLA) as a former student, Owethu emphasizes the values instilled in him. “The school, and especially KLA, instil what it takes to be a man, above all else. What it takes to be a great person, regardless of your occupation. The values align with the fruits of the Spirit.” The school’s focus on godliness and humility has significantly contributed to Owethu’s character, on and off the field. These values, instilled not only by the school but also by his parents, Clive and Nhlanhla Khumalo, have guided him and his two younger brothers.


Offering advice to aspiring footballers at King’s dreaming of a professional career, Owethu emphasizes the importance of deep introspection. “First, consider if you truly want to pursue this profession because it’s challenging. People don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears,” he advises. Stressing the importance of hard work and dedication, he encourages aspiring players to focus on giving their best and remaining resilient. “I believe if you put your best foot forward in everything you do, you can reap the rewards. If not, you learn lessons. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. If it doesn’t, God has a better plan. If it’s not football, it’s something better. God always has a better view.”

Looking forward, Owethu has set ambitious goals, including winning a team trophy, playing in the Premier League, and aspiring to win a Ballon d’Or. He says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough. It’s rare for a South African player to go to the Premier League, win the Premier League, win golden boots, and, most importantly, win a Ballon d’Or and a World Cup, but with God, I believe anything is possible.”

Owethu’s journey stands as a testament to hard work, patience, and support from his parents, coaches, teammates, and the school community. As Owethu continues to advance in the PSL and Mzansi football, he serves as an inspiration for aspiring athletes, proving that dreams, coupled with dedication and belief, can indeed become reality. The King’s College takes pride in celebrating his journey and achievements, from the school fields to the spotlight of the PSL.

by Lungi Damoyi


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