Soothing away pains his pride
High praise for Chippa masseur’s soccer acumen
Chippa United masseur and hydro-therapist Sizwe Gqogqo has a huge task in making sure that the players are in top form ahead of every match as the team continues to fight to keep its Absa Premiership status.
With Chippa’s small squad coach Clinton Larsen has no luxury to chop and change players and needs all his troops to be in good form.
That is were Gqogqo comes in. His task is to make sure that players’ aches, knocks and bruises are sorted in time so that they can perform at their level best when called up.
After 23 years in the field, the 53-year-old said seeing players pain free was still the best thing about his career.
“This is my second season now working full time with Chippa,” Gqogqo said.
“I am here every day. I massage and treat players for their aches before and after training sessions.
“I am here to fix the pains, but at the same time psychologically for them to know they will be free of pain and able to perform.”
Born in Uitenhage, Gqogqo spent most of his childhood in Port Elizabeth, but moved to Western Europe after his father was transferred to Germany by Volkswagen.
His love and passion for his work saw him being headhunted in 2008 by the late Ted Dumitru to join Mamelodi Sundowns, where he spent seven years working as a sport masseur.
During his stay at Sundowns he also worked for Bafana Bafana from 2014 to 2016.
“I stayed in Germany for 16 years. After matric I coached the SV Wiesbaden U15 and U17 sides as a hobby while I was studying and that is where I gained interest in sport massage,” Gqogqo said.
“I used to see sport therapists treating players.
“So I went to university to study medical massage and hydro-therapy.
“When I came back at the end of 1998 I did not have funds to open my practice and I worked at Clicks as a trainee manager. In 2002, I opened my first practice in New Brighton in the Phakama Building.”
In 2005, former Bay United chair Weza Welile Moss recruited Gqogqo to join Bay United. There he worked with Shakes Mashaba .
“I met Vladislav Heric in 2005 at the time he was coach of City Pillars. We spoke and he said to me one day he would like to work in PE because it’s a beautiful city .
“We exchanged numbers. During the 2006 season Heric called to say Kosta Papic, who was coaching Martizburg United at time, wanted someone with my experience,
“So during 2006 -2007 I worked at Maritzburg United.
“At end of the 2007 season Moss called me to say he had fired his coach and was looking for a recommendation, because he knew I had been around football circles.
“At the time Bay United were fighting against relegation in the NFD. I recommended Heric. He saved the team from relegation. Moss then gave him a two-year contract.
“Heric then asked me to come back and work with him at Bay United and during that 2007-2008 season we gained promotion to the Absa Premiership.”
The Serbian coach said Gqogqo was one of the most underrated people on football in the country.
“Sizwe is extremely educated on football but he does not get the recognition he deserves.
“When it comes to football ethics he is one of the best people I have ever met.
“He was part of my technical team when Bay United was promoted to the PSL 12 years ago and he played a very good role as a technical member.
“In football, Sizwe is one of people that definitely needs to be recognised and given the platform to express his knowledge.”