His friendly and charming demeanour cast him as a man on top of things and someone whose life is glittering. Far from it. Beneath that smile is a haunted man.
The 36-year-old, whose football career only has a few days left, confesses to having sleepless night.”I don’t sleep at night. I don’t want to lie,” said Monyai.
The veteran defender from Tzaneen is losing sleep over the fact that his beloved AmaTuks could get relegated at the end of this season.
Tuks are at the bottom of the Absa Premiership table with 22 points with Maritzburg United above them with 24 points and Jomos Comos 14th with 25 points.
”When you have contributed so much to a club… Having been with the club for so many years and having spent sleepless nights to bring the club where it is in terms of PSL.
“It’s killing me every day and every single second. I sit up at night to look at ways that I can help to make sure that the club stays up,” said Monyai, who has spent over a decade at Tuks.
Just a few days ago Monyai experienced an excruciating pain, not on his troublesome knee but in his heart. The team that gave Monyai his first foray into the PSL, Moroka Swallows got relegated from the National First Division to the ABC Motsepe League.
”Seeing the club going down makes my heart so sore. I still have a soft spot for Swallows. Nevertheless these things happen in football,” said Monyai who captained Swallows under the tutelage of Gavin Hunt.
”I feel I have contributed to the history of Swallows. They are the first club that gave me an opportunity to play in the PSL. My first season I joined them in 2005 and three months later I was appointed the captain. For me to come from a village and captain a big club like Swallows is one of the highlights of my career.”
Monyai is praying that Tuks don’t go the route of Swallows. Tuks have also learnt this season the importance of setting a right foundation and having the right personnel to ensure success. Monyai feels there are a number of factors that led to his side going down the table this season.
”Things don’t happen overnight. With time you realise that some decisions went wrong. It’s part of life. At the beginning of season there were rumours that the club might be sold. The pre-season didn’t start as normal. We started with eight players. We went for two weeks with eight players not knowing whether we will be campaigning in the PSL this season or whether the club will be sold,” he explained.
”Thabiso Nkoana, Sibusiso Mthethwa, Bongani Nyathi, Lennox Bacela and Siyabonga Ngubane came in the last week of pre-season. It was difficult to assemble a team not knowing where you are going to play. The coaches were also not sure. They were panicking. I used to speak to them. We also had a problem of scoring.
“We struggled to score goals to an extent that we went 10 games without scoring. It was a big problem. We had problems internally and assistant coach Sly Mosala had to leave. Two months later, the head coach Sammy Troughton had to leave. Shaun Bartlett came in and it was a bit too late.
“With Bartlett, we started doing well, solving the scoring problem, but again we started having a bigger problem conceding goals. Every single match in the last 10 to 15 minutes we concede goals.”
Though, owing to a knee injury, Monyai will sit out in what was supposed to be his last match as a professional player, the centre-back is adamant that Bartlett’s men will put up a fight to beat Golden Arrows at Tuks Stadium this coming Saturday.
Original source: Tuks will fight for the right to stay up