Born and raised in Perth, Tando Velaphi has Japanese and Zimbabwean heritage. Velaphi first played for the Australian U/20 team at the AFC Youth Championships in 2006. He made his A-League debut in the 2006/07 season for Queensland Roar and then signed with Perth Glory. In 2008 Velaphi made his U/23 Australian debut and went on to be selected in the Australian Olympic Team. The Australians finished in 11th place at the Beijing Games.