Siphosenkosi Mkwananzi interviews Jeffery Makoti, South African star footballer at Küçük Kaymaklı FC and now a CIU student in the department of psychology

“There is nothing as rewarding as doing what you love to do and being paid to do it” says Jeffery Makoti. Like many professional footballers, his love for the game started at a tender age. He grew up in a small township called Britts in the north western part ofSouth Africawith a very supportive family. But unlike many other professional footballers, Jeffrey emphasizes the importance of education regardless of success in the athletics and entertainment business.  He completed his secondary education at Eletsa Secondary School where he discovered his talent as a central mid-fielder and went on to pursue his career as a professional football player.

Jeffery turned professional in 2003 when he joined the Orlando Pirates, a second division team inSouth Africa. He then went on to play for Silver Stars United, which is now known as Platinum Stars United. This was his start to a long and bright future in the Premier South African League (P.S.L). Here Jeffery signed his first two year contract and was given the stage to show the world what he was made of, but unfortunately due to complications with his coach, he wasn’t given much stage time to perform and show the South African football fanatics his full potential. After one season with the club and decided to move on.

He first came to North Cyprus in 2005 when he signed a one year contract with Düzkaya Spor Kulübü, a Turkish Cypriot first league football club based in Çatalköy, Girne. There he played half a season before transferring to Türk Ocağı Limasol Spor Kulübü (T.O.L) because of his commendable performance on the field and attitude off the field. Jeffrey managed to score an impressive twelve goals for the team and help the club win the Cup Championship for that season.

Have an education and pursue your dream, because anything can happen along a football career

After the season ended Jeffrey decided to return toSouth Africaand try again with another football club, Maritzburg United. He signed a three year contract with the club. Unfortunately he faced the same problem he had faced earlier in his football career inSouth Africaand only played seven games, which led him to leave after just half a season. “I wanted to show my country my talent but unfortunately they didn’t let me do so hence I decided to come back toNorth Cyprus.”, he said. Just before he left for the TRNC he went on to play for another South African club, Mpumalanga Black Aces, where played a season while waiting for the Turkish Cypriot football season to commence.

Jeffrey came back to the TRNC after he got an offer to play with Bostancı Bağcıl Spor Kulübü. At the new club he played an impressive one and a half seasons and scored 18 goals, 11 of which were scored from an almost impossible distance at the centre of the of the football pitch. While at Bostancı Bağcıl Spor he went on to win the award for best foreign player in the TRNC. Makoti was then bought by his current club Küçük Kaymaklı Türk Spor Kulübü which is based here in Nicosia.

It was at this time that Jeffery decided to further his studies and get a Bachelor of Arts degree at Cyprus International University, where he is currently studying in the Psychology department. When I asked him why he had decided to get a degree after all his success on the field he said he goal was to “have an education and pursue your dream, because anything can happen along a football career.”

From a very young age I have always been intrigued by the human mind and behaviour

I went on to ask why he chose psychology as a major. He replied, “from a very young age I have always been intrigued by the human mind and behaviours. I am a very analytical individual who always wants to know what goes on through other people’s minds, hence the decision to study the subject instead of just having the interest and not doing nothing about it.”

“All this didn’t come easy, late night studying while very fatigued from matches was a nightmare” he added when I asked him how he was able to pass his matriculation exams with distinctions. “My journey to becoming pro was not easy while in high school because of the demanding classes I took hence I decided to finish my high school education first then put all my focus on football later, that way I was going to achieve my full potential academically and athletically”.

I also asked how he balances his football career, having to train four days a week, along with a demanding six course program for the semester. “Its not easy to balance the two,” he replied,  “but it’s a sacrifice I have to make for the future I want, because you cannot play football for the rest of your life. I need something to fall back on.” He went on to explain his schedule: “basically I go for lectures during the day then I go for training after school. I try to study and prepare for upcoming lectures.”

Makoti has also had the opportunity to travel to several European countries such as Belarus, the United Kingdom and Hungary, to mention only a few. His advice to those who would like to pursue his career is, “always be humble and remember that in the entertainment business anything can happen so it is wise to always have something to fall back on.”