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Still In Touch With Shakes Kungwane

Soccer Laduma’s ‘In Touch’ & ‘Still In Touch’ feature has been a fan favourite for almost two decades in Soccer Laduma’s weekly newspaper. 

Millions of readers turn to it first each week to read the crazy stories that Mzansi’s former players tell and to see current soccer stars dish the dirt on their teammates and coaches. 

Over the years, together with our readers, we have laughed uncontrollably and gasped with disbelief at stories that have never been told before!

Due to the incredible success and reading pleasure over the years and the timeless nature of this incredible content, Soccer Laduma has dug through the archives to bring back to life some of the gems you may have missed, or simply want to re-read and share with your friends. 

This week, we look back to 24 June 2009 in issue number 626, where Isaac ‘Shakes’ Kungwane reminisced about his ‘tiff’ with teammates at Kaizer Chiefs. The now late former darling of South African football also spoke about stealing the club’s kit and selling it in the township and his time under coach Zoran Pesic.

The darling of the Amakhosi faithful in the ’90s, Shakes Kungwane also made a name for himself in the Bafana Bafana colours. Best known for his defence-splitting passes, he retired in the 2001/02 season ending his career at Manning Rangers.

Shaaaaaaakes! Tell us about the crazy characters you played with.

Mark Williams was a funny character. When he arrived at the team, he didn’t score many goals until he took me out for supper. He’s the one who introduced me to prawns. I then sprayed him the passes and he started scoring. There was also a ‘passing fee’ that new players had to pay me if they wanted to be on the end of my defence-splitting passes. They also had to make sure they invited me to any parties they might be organising…or else. This makes me think of Pollen Ndlanya. He won a Top Goalscorer award one season and, when he went up to accept the award, he made a speech thanking his family and his girlfriend. He didn’t mention anything about his teammates. So in the next game when I had the ball, he went out wide and waited for me to pass to him but I wouldn’t. He said, “Ha, Shakes!” I said, “Hey, your family and your girlfriend will pass you the ball, not me. I created all your goals last season and you didn’t thank me.” Ha, ha, ha!


I remember one time, when Paul Dolezar was still our coach, we used to run non-stop for 20 minutes at training. Thembinkosi Biyela and I were overweight and the other players would outrun us. Then I decided to pull up my socks and I ended up overtaking Biyela. He was going so slow that everyone was outrunning him, and Dolezar would give him a tough time. He told him, “You’re slow and fat!” Biyela got very angry and started chasing after Dolezar, ha, ha. Dolezar tried to run towards the office, but Biyela caught him and choked him. Ha, ha, ha, ha, I’m serious!

Ha, ha, ha.

We also used a lot of muti at Chiefs. I remember before a big game the guys would wake up at 03h00 and jump over a big hole. I liked sleeping a lot and I just wouldn’t go there. I would be selected for the game and become Man of the Match. I would then sarcastically tell them, “Guys, it’s obviously better to sleep than to jump over holes. See, I was the best player on the park.” We had a muti man, but then the club sought the services of a prophet. There was suddenly a clash of personalities and duties between the two, and the muti man was very unhappy. The prophet was fired after we lost one game and we started winning games again and the muti man was very happy. Sometimes we were told to wash in a tub, but I only believed in my talent. They would even cut us with razor blades and smear black stuff on our faces, and we would run the whole game.

You’ve done some crazy things as well.

Some of the things I did back then were crazy. I sometimes sit with my wife and watch some of my past games and wonder why I had to look in one direction and pass in the other. One time I was on the bench and the team was not playing well that day. I knew the supporters liked me so I just stood up and walked around and the crowd started chanting ‘Shaaaaaaakes!’ In other words, I got myself in, ha, ha, ha. At Bafana Bafana I stood up off the bench when we played Australia and pretended I was going to the loo. The crowd screamed my name and Clive

Barker said, “Okay, warm up then.” After the game I would get fined for doing such things. Eish, I’m thinking of writing a book about all these funny stories, man.

Is that so? You reckon you’d rake in some money?

Definitely, I’ve always had good business skills. In 1991 I was earning R1 000 and I was fined every month. You know what I decided to do? I stole the club’s kit and sold it in the townships. We used to get given apparel for three months and I had many customers in Durban and Pietersburg. If I sold a T-shirt, I would wear a tracksuit so that no one would see that I no longer had the T-shirt. The one time we were instructed to wear our black golf shirts and I forgot that I had sold mine. It was very hot that day, but I had to wear a white tracksuit. When my teammates asked me why I was wearing a tracksuit in such hot weather, I told them, “No, I’m thinking about the game. This is my warm-up!”

You also played for Manning Rangers.

I had the most fun there, I’m telling you! We were staying in a flat. I was on the second floor and a disco owner lived on the first floor. Every night there was something happening. Did I sleep at my place or at the disco? You guess! On Wednesdays it was ladies’ night. After training, did I go to my room or downstairs? You guess! Lucky Maselesele was a good friend of mine. The one time we were drinking wine by the beach in Durban. We both come from Alexandra so we were just reminiscing about growing up in the dusty streets of Alex. Out of the blue, Lucky looked at the sea and said, “Shakes, if I could go straight through the sea and behind those two ships there, don’t you think I could reach Alex?” I said to him, “Go for it, baba, go for it!” Eish, but then I realised that we were drunk. I then told him, “No, look, we’re drunk. Remember we’re having wine by the sea. Forget about going to Alex via the sea.” Zoran Pesic also coached me at Rangers. Before the one game he said he was going to give me a chance in the first half and then take me out. That day I created three goals and we were 4-2 up by halftime. I then went straight to the change room and took off my playing kit. The club’s managing director couldn’t understand what was happening, so he left the suite and came to ask me what was happening. I told him that the coach said I was only going to play in the first half. I went to sit in the stands and we ended up losing 5-4. The coach was called into a meeting the next morning and told that if he ever took Shakes off again, he would be fired! The next day at training the coach made me run like hell though!



Best player I’ve ever faced:

Roger Feutmba

Best player I’ve played with:

The whole Kaizer Chiefs team of


Biggest pay cheque:

R1 000 a month

Smallest pay cheque:

R250 a month

Team that used the most muti:

Kaizer Chiefs

Favourite current player:

Mthokozisi Yende

Current occupation: Businessman

Previous clubs: Jomo Cosmos,

SuperSport United, Santos, Kaizer

Chiefs, Manning Rangers


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