Muti’s influence … or lack thereof.
I remember it became the
While I was still playing for Manning Rangers, we used to stay in an apartment where there used to be a night club at the bottom. The late Shakes Kungwane used to stay on the third floor, with the nightclub on the ground floor. Everyone, including the nightclub management, used to encourage Shakes to go to that nightclub as he would always attract a big crowd; people would come there, buy drinks and just have fun. Even if we were playing a game, Shakes would be allowed to go to the nightclub even though he was not drinking, just to be there to attract the big crowd. He would often sleep at around four or five in the morning, despite having to travel the next day to play an away game.
One day, I don’t remember
who we were playing against, but I think it was Moroka Swallows away from home. Obviously the rest of the guys were in camp sleeping while Shakes was not in camp. He would be having a good time at the club. At the time, Gordon Igesund was in charge and used to love Shakes. And when he announced his line up, he would always say, ‘’Guys, this is what our line up will look like”. And he would not start with the goalkeeper as everyone else usually does – he would start with the name “Shakes” and then only call the other players to follow. Then Shakes said, “Mara nina nikhempile kodwa kubizwa mina kuqala, ngulomlungu lo [But you guys were in camp, but my name is called first in the team’s starting line up, this white man though].” During that game against Swallows, Shakes scored a beautiful curler and wildly celebrated with the team, only for us to lose the match. When we returned to the change room, he said, “You guys went to camp, but you are costing us, you are playing nonsense. I wasn’t in camp, but look at the goals I’m scoring. You went into camp, but you make us lose.” goal of the week and he went on to say: “I just stay in my room with my girlfriend all night before a game. I’m like [the Brazilian] Ronaldo: I get one round while you are in camp and then go and play a nice game after that.” He would tease us about following the team rules and curfews regularly. It was fun and it was nice to be around him because you were always guaranteed a laugh, even at your own expense. But the craziest things happened when I was playing for Jomo Cosmos. It was at the time we trained next to Rand Stadium. One day, Bra Jomo [Sono] identified that there were people who came in the evening and planted something on the field, and he believed it was muti. He was so sensitive about those kinds of things, and decided to try do something about it. Before a match against SuperSport United, we were taken to an unknown location at night, where we were ordered to strip naked. It was so cold in Johannesburg and there we were, standing naked near Rand Stadium. We were then drizzled with this muti, which was very strange. Alongside the ground there is a road where people were passing by. Some ladies were left wondering what in the world we were doing. We also had some white boys who were also ordered to strip naked to perform the strange muti ritual. The ladies passing by then exclaimed, “Hawu! Kanti nabelungu bayawuthanda umuthi? [My word! Even white people like muti?]” It was so funny that day. Yet despite going through that ritual, we still went on to lose 3-0 to SuperSport! Imagine! Even after standing naked in the cold!