Ten things you didn’t know about Mzwanele Mahashe
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Mzwanele Mahashe was born in Mdantsane Unit 7, East London. This is the same area where the boxing duo of WBA Africa champion Mfundo Gwayana and the late former World Boxing Federation Africa junior lightweight champion Themba “Killer” Tshicila also hail from. Like many youngsters who grew up in Mdantsane, the Baroka FC defender was also an aspiring boxer through his teenage years and still knows how to throw a punch in the ring. Celebrated boxer Floyd Mayweather ranks as Mahashe’s favourite pugilist. Mahashe is the last-born child from his mother’s side. He has two older brothers, Vulindlela and Solomzi, and a sister. They both work in government and in the construction industry respectively. “Zwai”, as Mahashe is known by many, is one of just a handful of footballers from Mdantsane – along with Sibusiso Dabi and Mzuvukile Tom – to ever play in the Premier Soccer League. This is disappointing for a township considered the second largest in the country after Soweto. Mahashe played for popular Mdantsane amateur club Mighty Greens and is now planning to set up a foundation and run a tournament in his home town next year as a way of giving back to the community.
The 31 year-old holds a B.Tech in Sports Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and graduated just prior to making his PSL debut during the 2010/11 season.
Mahashe is in a stable long distance relationship with his Cape Town-based girlfriend who he is planning to marry and start a family with. “It is really challenging to be in a long
distance relationship, but we speak every hour and she comes to visit when she is on leave. I really do hope we could be based much closer than Lebowakgomo and Cape Town,” he says. Mahashe – a travel fanatic – was planning on flying out of the continent on holiday with his girlfriend during the off-season, but the club’s participation in the Play-Offs ruined those plans. So far he has only been out of the country twice: to Mauritius and Reunion, both of which were on CAF Confederation Cup duty with Bidvest Wits in 2011. In Lebowakgomo – which is Baroka’s base in semi-rural Limpopo – Mahashe still stays at a lodge provided by the club and travels using the team bus whenever he has to move around. Only a handful of players drive their own cars at the club. Mahashe’s decision to use jersey number three was inspired by Spanish defender Gerard Pique. While he claims to have been driving for several years now, Mahashe only acquired his driver’s licence last year at the insistence of his girlfriend. He tested in Lebowakgomo having thrice had a learner’s licence, which expired before he could acquire his driver’s.