Of soccer players, trending hairdos

Leader of the hairbear bunch: Carlos Valderama
Leader of the hairbear bunch: Carlos Valderama

From rugged dreadlocks, through s- curl to cornrows and mo- hawks the soccer ball has come into contact with some weird hairstyles, observes Monitor Sport Staff Writer Mqondisi Dube

From time immemorial, hair has been a thing for women and footballers. And the underlying reason for twisting, singeing, colouring the strands is, without doubt, to stand out.Soccer techniques have evolved rapidly over the years and become fancier, and so have the players’ hairstyles.

Colombian footballer, Carlos Valderrama was largely acknowledged as the leader of the hair bear bunch with his hair raising bushy style in the 1990s.

Footballers spotting dreadlocks were considered fierce competitors with the look of thunder back then.

But since the dreadlock, many other hairstyles, some outrageous have littered the football pitch.

Analysts believe hairstyles aid a player to stand out particularly in big tournaments like the World Cup or Africa Cup of Nations where scouts are always looking for talent.

The same goes for the colourful boots players prefer these days as opposed to the common black and white predominantly Adidas or Puma boots back in the day.

Local footballers have not hesitated to frequent the barber for stylish hairdos, though some have preferred to keep it simple.

Pontsho Moloi is known for his fancy styles and is considered streets ahead of his peers in this department.

Local legend, Diphetogo Selolwane kept a neat shave for most part of his career, while former Zebras marksman, Tshepiso  ‘Sox’ Molwantwa became synonymous with dreadlocks during a successful career, which blossomed when he was at Township Rollers.

Moloi says he follows the latest ‘hair trends’ and has an obsession with ‘stylish cuts’.“I do it for fun, nothing much. I just go with fashion. In most instances I am the first local player to do a trending hairstyle. Yes, it does reflect who you are. I love hairstyles,” he says.

‘Piro’ argues it is not about grabbing attention.

“It’s not about attention, although of course people will recognise you. For long, I had cornrows, but had to change after my daughter complained that my hair was no longer looking nice. It’s about having fun really,” Moloi says.

While several theories have been thrown around for the players’ preferred choices, some observers are of the belief that age determines the type of hairstyle.

“I’m growing and maturing and turning 21 in a few months so it was time for a change,” Everton striker, Romelu Lukaku recently told the British press after he dumped his dreadlocks for a neat cut.

But are coaches concerned about hairstyles?

“It depends. It does not worry me because most of them are tidy. However, as a development coach, I always ask the young players to shave clean.

“If you leave them to do whatever hairstyle they want, it is akin to allowing them to go to a bar,” Extension Gunners development coach, China Matlhaku says.

He believes the kind of hairstyle a footballer chooses reflects their character.

“It shows what kind of a player you are. Most of these players want to be recognised and in a way it’s self motivation,” Matlhaku says. He however says the hairdo does not affect the players’ ability with the ball, adding it’s all about technique.

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