Ten things you didn’t know about Mzwanele Ma­hashe

DDe­fend­erfd MMzwanelel MMa­hashehh wentt ffrom want­ingti tto bbe a bboxer tto bbeingi a pro­fes­sion­al­fil ffoot­ballert­bll iin ththe Absa Premier­ship with rook­ies Baroka FC, where he fin­ished a tough sea­son as the joint top scorer with six goals in all com­pet


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.

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