Ga-Matala, Limpopo born international baseball star Gift Ngoepe has hung up his bat and glove.

Ngoepe’s rise to fame was when he became the first African to play in Major League Baseball in the USA. He was born in the rural village of Ga-Matlala 33-years ago. Ngoepe together with his mother moved when he was just three years old.

This is after his late mother; Maureen found a job as a domestic worker at the Randburg Met’s clubhouse.

He was immediately introduced to Baseball and progressed through the junior age groups, representing South Africa at senior team level as a teenager in 2007. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates on a pro contract the following year.


Ngoepe spent nearly a decade paying his dues in the minor leagues. But his persistence paid off in 2017 when he made his major league debut for the Pirates. The debut came during the game against the Chicago Cubs.

He made another appearance in Major League Baseball after signing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018.

Gift Ngoepe in action for Pittsburgh Pirates
Gift Ngoepe in action for Pittsburgh Pirates

In the later years of his career, Ngoepe also featured for the Sydney Blue Sox in Australia and the Quebec Capitals in Canada. He also played for various minor league teams in the United State of America.


But on Monday, the defensive back midfielder took to his Instagram page to announce his retirement.

“From me to the game… and everyone on my journey. Thank you. Sign off,” he said.

Ngoepe’s younger brother Vincent, was also signed with the Pirates in 2016 to play in the lower echelons of the US circuit.