||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2013)|
|Full name||Mbulelo Mabizela|
|Date of birth||16 September 1980|
|Place of birth||Pietermaritzburg, South Africa|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Edendale All Stars|
|Ashdown Young Buccaneers|
|2013–||Mpumalanga Black Aces||0||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 November 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Nicknamed "Old John" as a young player for showing maturity beyond his years, he holds the record as the youngest player to captain the South African national team at the age of twenty. Whilst he has all the ability required to be an outstanding player with good pace, strength, composure on the ball with both feet and the timing of tackles, Mabizela has had a career littered with troubles.
Mabizela was released by Tottenham Hotspur after only fourteen months with the club for disciplinary problems in 2004, this followed him having been stripped of the Bafana Bafana captaincy for going AWOL a few months earlier. Other troubles have included a six-month ban for the use of a banned substance in 2006 and in December 2008 a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
In August 2003 he joined Tottenham Hotspur after inspiring Pirates to a 2–1 win over Tottenham when the London club made a short tour of South Africa before the start of the 2003–2004 season. In October 2003 he scored his only goal for the club in the league match against Leicester City.
In October 2004, He had his contract cancelled by Tottenham Hotspur and was released by mutual agreement following several disciplinary infractions, including missing training sessions. He made only nine appearances in total for the club, scoring an absolute wonder goal.
After a short trial with another London club Fulham he joined Vålerenga in Norway. Mabizela spent a season at the Norwegian club but rarely featured in their championship winning season and was released in June 2006.
In August 2006 he signed for the South African team Mamelodi Sundowns.
In December 2006, he received a six-month ban from the game for drug offences .
Following a number of disciplinary problems at Mamelodi Sundowns which resulted in him being made available for transfer, Mabizela found a new home in early 2009 when he signed a three-year contract with Platinum Stars.
In June 2009 he was acquitted in the Pietermaritzburg magistrate court on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. At the time of his arrest, Mabizela was allegedly driving with a breath-alcohol level of 1,09 mg per 1 000 ml. The legal limit is 0,24 mg per 1 000 ml breath. Magistrate Dieter Schultz said Mabizela's constitutional rights were not properly explained to him at his arrest and he was thus entitled to an acquittal.
In July 2009, Platinum Stars made an about-turn on their decision to terminate the contract of Mabizela. It was reported that the club had finally run out of patience with 'OJ', with his agent confirming they had received a letter confirming the termination of his deal with the team. However, after a lengthy meeting with head coach Steve Komphela, Mabizela was back with the team and was allowed to continue playing for the club.
On 7 June 2010 Mabizela was voted the Platinum Stars man of the match in the Stars 3–0 defeat to the England international team in their final warm-up game before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Before the match he gave an interview in which he said he was looking forward to meeting Ledley King and Jermain Defoe again, two England players he played alongside at Tottenham Hotspur. Also he talked about how he is steadily overcoming his personal problems, "I had a good start at Spurs but it was too short and that's something I'll always look back on with regret", said Mabizela. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my personal life, things I'd rather not elaborate upon, and that was the reason I had to leave Spurs". "When I came back to South Africa I went for help, I got help and I'm still being helped. I wouldn't say I'm okay but I feel I'm going forward now. Platinum Stars have really helped me and at the moment I feel that I've really moved on. I am ready to move on with my career, even possibly back to Europe and I'd like to play for the Bafana Bafana international team again".
In May 2011 Platinum Stars announced a major clear-out of a number of players including Mbulelo Mabizela, who then became a free agent. After being linked with a number of clubs including Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows, On 11 August 2011 Mabizela signed for Bidvest Wits on a free transfer and was given the squad number 3.
In May 2012, Bidvest Wits held their end of season awards evening and Mabizela was named the club's Player of the Year at the function which was held at the Southern Sun in Monte Casino. It was reported that Mabizela had been an influential and outstanding figure at the club since joining at the beginning of that season.
In season 2012–2013, Mabizela became very much unsettled at the Clever Boys (Bidvest Wits) during the first half of the season and requested to be released from his contract after the club made the following statement to the press in December 2012. "We have advised Mbulelo Mabizela and his agent that he is not part of our plans for the remaining duration of his contract with us and that we will consider offers from other clubs for his services during the forthcoming January transfer window period."
On 20 January 2013 he joined Chippa United on an 18-month contract until June 2014 and was reported to say he hoped to help save the Cape Town teams young side from relegation by the end of the season. He was released at the end of the 2012–13 season after the team was relegated.
In October 2013 he began training with Mpumalanga Black Aces. Despite rumours linking him to former club Orlando Pirates, Mabizela signed a deal with Black Aces till the end of the 2013–14 season.
In June 2014 The Black Aces spokesman Gordon Masondo confirmed that Mbulelo Mabizela's contract had been renewed for the following season.
In late January 2015 PSL team AmaZulu signed Mbulelo Mabizela on a short term contract, 'OJ' had been a free agent, since parting ways with Mpumalanga Black Aces in December. Mabizela started the season 2014-15 with Aces but the central defender was shown the exit door at Aces, following his fall-out with the club’s head coach, Clive Barker. AmaZayoni terminated his contract, following a disciplinary hearing in October. Mabizela’s contract with Aces was set to run until June 2016 had he not encountered disciplinary issues that led to the club cutting his stay short.
Following the signing AmaZulu coach Steve Barker stated he believes Mabizela is still 'one of the best players South Africa has ever produced' despite his troubles and played down the bad-boy reputation the player has earned over the years. "I think people overstate what he has done. He hasn't had any incidences in the past three years except obviously a fall-out with the previous coach [Clive Barker at Black Aces]," Barker was quoted as saying.
In a interview following the signing of his six month contract with AmaZulu, his tenth professional club, the talented defender reflected on his career by saying, "I don't know my man...Football is like life, you can't say I am going to do this and that today or tomorrow. I'd just like to take it step by step, day by day, game by game and not get carried away thinking I am the main man you get me?"
As of 2008 he has played 45 international matches and scored 2 goals for the South Africa national team. At the age of 20 he became the youngest national team captain ever.
Call for International Return:- A call for his return to international football was made in early December 2009, Platinum Stars coach Cesc Lukuko says he is happy with the progress made by Mabizela and reiterated his call for his inclusion in the Bafana Bafana set-up. "Mabizela has done well at Stars since joining them and seemed to be keeping away from the bad press of late", Komphela was reported as saying, He continued "Yes I do feel Mabizela should be back in the national team now, He has been doing well and we all know his capabilities". A number of past and present Bafana international players backed the call for OJ's return in late January 2010 but the Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was unmoved by any call for a return. When South Africa's provisional 30-man World Cup squad was named on 12 May 2010, Mabizela was not in the squad therefore ending any hope of a deserved return to the Bafana Bafana camp.
|1||2004-06-05||Bloemfontein, South Africa||Cape Verde||1–0||2–1||World Cup qualifier|
|2||2004-06-05||Bloemfontein, South Africa||Cape Verde||2–0||2–1||World Cup qualifier|