He was a force to reckon with; so promising, many saw a lot of potential in him, and others considered him to be the next big thing at Kaizer Chiefs, that was Emmanuel Letlotlo for you.
He gradually worked his way up, through the ranks of the top-flight club, but quickly became a withered petal after only five matches he was sent packing from the senior team.
Now 23, the striker is clubless, and is in the press at the same time, not in relation to his future in football, but because of a messy child maintenance battle.
Two women, one with twins born to him, whom he has never made time to meet, are demanding he pay for the upkeep of the kids he sired.
One of the women, Ntombi Gama said; “He has money to party and go clubbing, wear designer clothes, but he can’t maintain our four-year-old daughter.”
Another mother, Neo Lebogo claimed Emmanuel has not even got sight of their two-year-old twins despite repeated promises to meet his little son and daughter.
“I’m tired of protecting his reputation. He needs to own up to his responsibilities,” she said.
The two mothers are now fed-up and have taken the fallen football star to court, however, he says legal action doesn’t frighten him at all.
He admitted he’s struggling to support his children but recently took to social media to make it public that his fiancée, Arantxa Maarman, is pregnant.
“Children are a blessing, the more the merrier,” he told DRUM. Emmanuel said Ntombi (21) and Neo (23) are just jealous of him because he’s found love with his new baby mama.
“Those two are crazy, especially Ntombi. SheShe speaks to me like I’m her child. They need to come clean that they’re jealous that I moved on and I’m happy,” the striker said adding that he can’t do anything about being out of work.
He maintains that when his contract with the Glamour Boys ended, he was left with no means of taking care of his kids.
“But it’s not like I’m not trying to make ends meet. I just don’t have a team yet. I’m waiting to start somewhere else very soon. What do they want me to do, go work at Pick n Pay? Never.” He said.
He has been as free as a bird since Amakhosi cut him loose but it is being alleged that he hasn’t visited his young children because he fears their mothers.
“What if they poison my food or drug me when I go see the kids? No, I’m not going there. If they want me to see the kids, they must drop them off at my parents’ house,” he said.
The two women said that they have reached out to Emmanuel’s family for help. “His grandmother is the one who advised me to take him to court if he’s not stepping up as a father. I don’t want to bad-mouth them, but he does as he pleases,” said Ntombi.
She and Emmanuel when she was in Grade 8 at the high school they both attended. They enjoyed their love relationship for a little while, but she noticed something was amiss in their relationship when she became pregnant.
Emmanuel shocked her, when she discovered that her high school sweetheart had been cheating on her. “Maybe it’s the money that changed him. He was unapologetic about his cheating, so I let him be,” she said.
His unfaithfulness continued into her pregnancy; she said; “When I gave birth, he put money in my mother’s account when it suited him. I would nag him that I need money for his child, and he would ignore my messages.”
Ntombi, a makeup and beauty student at The Pyramid Beauty School, who has not received any money for child upkeep since April relies on her street-vendor mother to help raise her child. “I depend on my mom’s money to take me to school, pay my bills and take care of his child. It’s draining me,” she said.
Ntombi stopped seeing Emmanuel in 2016 when she discovered he was dating Neo. “Neo contacted me on Facebook telling me to stay away from her man and I did because I was tired of the cheating. He also confessed to being with her and I let them be. I don’t want a relationship with him,” she said.
She only wants what’s due to her daughter and nothing else. Neo understands Ntombi’s battle. It’s not the first time she’s hauled Emmanuel to court over child maintenance, she squared off with the soccer player in August 2017.
“He told the court he could afford R4 000, but he gives me R2 000 when he feels like it. I haven’t received anything for the past six months,” she said.
Neo, a clerk at a pharmaceutical company, gets up at 4am to get the twins ready for preschool at 7am. “My dad drops them off at crèche and I have to have a nanny ready after crèche. Those expenses are covered by me and my parents.
“My expenses are about R11 000 a month, I earn a little less than that. My parents have to help me out and that’s not fair on them,” said Neo.
Her mother works as a receptionist at a pharmaceutical company, but her father is retired.
“Imagine my father having to spend his retirement money on me instead of enjoying it,” she fumed.
She met Emmanuel in 2015 on social media after she added him as a friend on Facebook. “Within an hour he sent me an inbox asking for my number. I wasn’t a groupie, so I was sceptical. I didn’t know if it was him or a fake account,” she added.
They continued on communicating on social media until they arranged to meet. “He was my type of a guy, kind and giving. He spoilt me. He took me to Cubana for our first date and we spent the night together,” she said.
Things went on well for about six months. “I found out he was cheating with many girls. But he’d apologize and I would try to make it work,” she said.
After eight months, Neo became pregnant. “He changed even more when I was pregnant. He would disappear for weeks and not call to check up on me.
“I decided to leave him in January this year because I realized the cheating would never stop. I was getting calls from different girls telling me to stay away from him. So, for the health of my kids, I stayed away,” she added.
She hasn’t met him since. “It’s been a struggle to get him to see the kids, pay maintenance or make an effort to call.
“He wasn’t there when his children were born,” Neo continued. “He’s never seen the twins; they don’t know him or his Kaizer Chiefs money and they’re already two years old.”
Emmanuel told the publication that his children know he’s their father. “I know when my kids grow up they’ll come and find me without their mothers stalking me on social media,” he said.
He’s blocked both Ntombi and Neo on social media. “I don’t like the way they speak to me and nag me. I want to provide for the kids but I’m not working. What should I do?” He queried.
However, Ntombi is fed up of putting up with the once-promising player’s excuses. “How is any other soccer team supposed to take him seriously when he has such a bad reputation of not supporting his own children?” She lambasted.