Player departures from their various teams are at a high in the media right now especially with the departures of Willie le Roux from the Cheetahs, everyone from Kaizer Chiefs and even Bongani Khumalo from Tottenham Hotspurs. What resulted was that I started thinking about times when players have left teams I support and how much it upset me when they went. Please keep in mind that this only relates to teams that I support and I would love to hear some of yours. Here are five of my player departures that hurt the most.
5. Collins Mbesuma – Kaizer Chiefs to Portsmouth
Collins Mbesuma was a superstar for Kaizer Chiefs in 2005. Chiefs had signed Mbesuma in the previous January from Roan United in Zambia. What transpired in the 2004/2005 season was frankly glorious as Mbesuma led the Glamour Boys to a title with 25 league goals (The highest since that was 20 in Nomvethe in 2012). Mbesuma was quickly snapped up by Portsmouth and Kaizer Chiefs would struggle to find another star man taking 8 more years to finally win the title again.
4. Lewis Hamilton – Mclaren to Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton was signed up for Mclaren as a youngster in the Young Driver Support Programme. He then went on to win the British Formula Renault, the Formula Three series and the GP2 Championship. The progression of Ron Dennis’ protege was quick and in 2007 he made his debut and finished 2nd in the Drivers Championship by one point to Kimi Raikonnen. In 2008 he won the Championship, at that stage becoming the Youngest ever Champion in history. The following 4 years saw the dominance of Sebastien Vettel, but Hamilton still won 12 races in that time. Hamilton then decided to move to pastures green and has since won another championship. Mclaren have failed to even score a point this year. When Hamilton left I was bleak.
3. Dale Steyn – Titans to Cobras
In 2010 Dale Steyn, the Phalaborwa Express, decided to leave the team that had invested in his development into a World Class cricketer. Steyn served eight years at Titans, starting as a promising fast bowler and leaving as the number one ranked fast bowler. Steyn’s move was necessitated by living in Cape Town and became laborious traveling. It was, however incredibly difficult to see him lead the Cobras to the Pro20, Supersport Series in that year and the Franchise Cup in the following season. Imagine if Steyn and Morkel could still lead the line for the Titans together now.
2. Adriaan Strauss – Cheetahs to Bulls
Man, I felt like I had been stabbed. When Adriaan Strauss moved to the Bulls, a Franchise he started his career at, he left the Cheetahs as a leader who had shown incredible influence to help them to the Playoffs in 2013. He had also arguably aligned himself as the best natural leader in South African rugby and clear understudy to Jean de Villiers as the national skipper. You may think as a Cheetahs fan I am used to seeing players leave, but this one was the toughest for me. The Cheetahs have struggled without his influence this season, although they probably would have struggled with his influence too!
1. Robin van Persie – Arsenal to Manchester United
The Judas of all Judas’. RVP who was the captain of Arsenal at this stage and had just led the team with an incredible season of goals, decided to betray everything he had ever said, and delivered the little boy inside me speech in signing for the nemesis. I was not alone in my despair as Arsenal fans around the globe reacted to Judas in various forms of disdain…
So whose departure from your team upset you the most???