Khumalo's UK nightmare
Bongani Khumalo's football adventure has become a nightmare.
The Bafana defender, who starred at the 2010 World Cup, went off to England early in that year to seek his soccer fortune - but he could return home this year with only broken dreams.
He left South Africa on transfer to English Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur, who seemed keen to use his defensive qualities.
At first the future seemed rosy for Khumalo, especially when his Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar joined him at White Hart Lane in a transfer from Everton.
But when Khumalo did not measure up to Harry Redknapp's requirements, it all went awry for the South African.
He was quickly dispatched to second-tier English Championship outfit Reading to get the game time that he was missing at Spurs. A regular start in the Reading first team did not last long, and Khumalo was left to languish in the reserves.
Now he is heading back to Spurs because of the January transfer-window politics. Reading are clearing their decks for new players before the window closes on Monday, and Khumalo is surplus to requirements.
Next week Khumalo will find himself back at White Hart Lane - again warming the bench.
Khumalo had been on loan to Reading until the end of the season but since new owners took over at the Royals, the club has been eager to get rid of its deadwood, of which Khumalo appears to be part.
Reading manager Brian McDermott confirmed yesterday that Khumalo was not in his plans as the club prepares a bid for their transfer target Karleigh Osborne, also a defender, from Brentford, an English League One club.
"Bongani will go back to Spurs and we have to cover the Sean Morrison [who has gone on loan] situation until the end of the season. And that cover will be Osborne," said McDermott.
Spurs signed Khumalo in January 2010 from three-time Absa Premiership champions Supersport United. He was joined by his Pienaar a year later.
However, the former United captain struggled to break into Redknapp's team, facing tough competition from William Gallas, Matthew Dawson, Ledley King and Younes Kaboul at centre-back.