Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Junior Khanye has sent a touching message to troubled footballers amid recent reports.
Following the arrest of former Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates defender Patrick ‘Boka’ Phungwayo this week, Khanye could not contain his shock and sadness and has offered advice as he was still coming to terms with the recent tragic passing of ex-Chiefs star Lucky Maselesele.
“I, Junior Thabo Khanye, feel very sad about reading these kinds of stories about players and former players struggling to cope with life after football. We just lost Lucky Maselesele recently and we still don’t know what happened to him. Now, this (about Phungwayo) and there are so many rumours, and we don’t know exactly what happened,” said Khanye.
“But the reality is that there are so many footballers who struggle with the challenges of life once their playing days are over. I spent seven years without an income after I struggled to get a club, until now that I have managed to get some gigs and got to pick up the pieces. I was struggling with four kids to look after, a wife and a mother to support and it was so difficult because my loss of income coincided with the passing of my father. Without having a car and without having friends and any of the women who were around when I had money, life changed and things were so difficult,” he added.
“I’m not saying Boka Phungwayo has done the things that he is being accused of, but we don’t know what the real story is. I know of someone who is close to Boka, and he tells me that Boka hasn’t done the things that he’s been accused of. If what I have been told is true, then good for Boka, but if it is true that he did the things he is accused of, it will be another sad story about South African football. My advice to all the players is that we shouldn’t forget who we are, guys. These clubs found us with parents and families and homes and because God has blessed us with talent, we should use it meaningfully. Don’t put yourself under too much unnecessary pressure and if you don’t have a car, wait for the right time to buy yourself one. Use your talent and your name in a positive manner. Open a foundation if you can and go around to motivate people or go around the townships using your spare time to coach kids and things like that. If you get given an opportunity in the media to tell your story, use it and don’t take it as an embarrassment.
“Don’t get yourself involved in things that will expose you in danger of losing your life, because should you die, you will leave your children vulnerable and with no one to take care of them. It’s touching and I am pleading to the guys to behave and never to underestimate the talent that God has given to each one of them. I have been there and seen it all, but I accepted God to be my saviour and returned to living a basic life and removed the so-called friends and women out of my life and stopped drinking. It’s hard going back to living a basic life, but it is doable,” concluded an emotional Khanye.
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