Soccer superstar and Bafana Bafana captain, Thulani Hlatshwayo needs no introduction.

Despite his towering presence, the soft-spoken Soweto-born defender is anything but a typical footballer. Humble and incredibly grounded, ‘Tyson’, as he is known, is a family man at heart. ‘When Thulani steps off the field, he switches into family man mode,’ says his manager, Kgomotso Kgatle. Despite his punishing work schedule, Thulani puts his wife, Kenosi, and two-year-old son Thato first. 

My family is everything to me. When I am not travelling I make sure that I spend quality time with them.'

Since his debut for the Ajax Cape Town Youth Academy, the 28-year old has quickly climbed the ranks and earned himself the reputation of being one of the hardest workers in the business. As captain of both Bidvest Wits and Bafana Bafana, Thulani has become a force to be reckoned with in South African soccer circles. ‘The work Thulani is doing on the field will be remembered once he has retired,’ says Kgomotso. ‘He is a true professional, a hard worker and a fighter,’ he adds. Perhaps it’s this fighting spirit that resonates with players and fans alike, and saw Thulani bag the Player’s Player of the Season and Player of the Season awards at his club’s prizegiving ceremony this year.


His athletic ability and passion for the game (not to mention his good looks), also caught the attention of Adidas, who added him to their list of brand ambassadors in 2015. ‘For us, passion is the number one driver and we are constantly on the lookout for players who demonstrate exceptional talent and the passion to want more out of their game,’ said Adrian De Souza, Business Unit Head for Football at Adidas South Africa, in a media announcement. Watching Thulani on set, it was clear he has an eye for style and was as comfortable sporting a tracksuit as he was a tailored jacket.

Despite rumours of a move to Orlando Pirates, Thulani is staying put at Bidvest Wits, where he is contracted until 2019. On the national front, while Bafana Bafana didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Thulani says the team is focused on the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations campaign. As for his future plans? With his talent and determination, the world is his oyster…

  • He was born on 18 December 1989 in Soweto.
  • He began his football career with Senaoane Gunners in Soweto.
  • Kenosi was his childhood sweetheart and they were secretly married on 7 January 2017, also in Soweto.
  • He was a member of the South African U-20 team that played in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
  • Thulani clinched the 2016/2017 Absa Premiership Defender of the Season award.
  • He is capped for all of SA’s junior levels including the U-17, U-20, and U-23 national teams.

CAPTAIN THULANI HLATSHWAYO CAPTAIN THULANI HLATSHWAYO Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on January 01, 2018 Rating: 5
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