Bhon­gol­wethu Jayiya

Liv­ing his dream at Kaizer Chiefs

Kick Off - - INSIDE - BY LOVE­MORE MOYO Twit­ter: @kick­offff­magazine

The big­gest wish that Bhon­gol­wethu Jayiya’s par­ents had for their son was for him to ob­tain a univer­sity de­gree. They made an ef­fort to send him to the best schools, start­ing him out at Blair­gowrie Pri­mary School be­fore send­ing him to Potchefstroom Boys’ High School. Not only has Jayiya ex­celled aca­dem­i­cally as per his par­ents’ de­mands, his foot­ball ca­reer has taken him to the fam­ily’s favourite club. Un­for­tu­nately his dad hasn’t lived long enough to see all this. His fa­ther – Mzwandile Ed­die Jayiya – was a jour­nal­ist who worked for The Star news­pa­per and was then Labour Min­is­ter Mem­bat­hisi Md­lad­lana’s spokesper­son at the time of his death in Au­gust 2001, af­ter be­ing shot while seated in his car in Mead­ow­lands, Soweto. “How I wish he was here to see what I have grown to be­come,” says Jayiya. “Ac­tu­ally, ev­ery time I get in­ter­viewed he is the first per­son I think of be­cause when­ever I woke up ev­ery morn­ing he was al­ways read­ing a news­pa­per. He was well-in­formed in his trade. It would have re­ally been great for him to write about his son. I am do­ing ev­ery­thing for him and the fam­ily.” Af­ter a brief pause at the end of pay­ing re­spect to his late fa­ther, he raises his head. “How did the son of a jour­nal­ist and a school teacher end up a pro­fes­sional foot­baller?” he asks, rhetor­i­cally.

His mom – whom he talks of fondly –

is still a school­teacher at Hlaka­niphani Pri­mary School in Dlamini –the same neigh­bour­hood in Soweto Jayiya still calls home. “Me and my mom are tight like this (sic) and she is the one that has al­ways been push­ing me,” he says, palm­ing his hands to­gether for em­pha­sis. Of the day he put pen to pa­per as a Kaizer Chiefs player, Jayiya says: “Oh my mom was ec­static.” “She was us­ing my pre­vi­ous phone, which still had my twit­ter ac­count ac­tive on it and when Chiefs broke the news she sud­denly knew. She was ac­tu­ally singing on our street in Dlamini just to show how happy she was and by the time I got home she was waiting for me at the gate. When I asked why she was waiting at the gate she just ex­ploded with joy. That just made me re­alise the weight of this move.” But then how did it hap­pen that a boy who never went through any struc­tured de­vel­op­ment and who went to a non-foot­ball play­ing school end up play­ing the game at a pro­fes­sional level? “Me and Chiefs … it is a childhood

love story that has come good,” says Jayiya. “I re­mem­ber go­ing to the sta­dium with my grand­fa­ther as a lit­tle kid in the 90’s. I watched the game on his shoul­ders and I en­joyed the game, even though I didn’t know any of the play­ers at the time. I think my grand­fa­ther was just open­ing me up to foot­ball and my mom still keeps re­mind­ing me of those things up to now.” There is no stop­ping Jayiya when he talks about the Chiefs bond his fam­ily shares. “Both my par­ents were Chiefs fans. In my fam­ily Or­lando Pirates fans have al­ways been out­num­bered. When I saw Chiefs play­ing when I was about 12, my love for this team grew, es­pe­cially when they were win­ning tro­phies. So this is a dream come true. I have worked so hard and played for so many teams but get­ting this op­por­tu­nity to play for the one that I ac­tu­ally sup­ported from childhood is a bless­ing,” he notes.

Af­ter ma­tric he got his chance to

pur­sue his foot­ball dream, al­though he had to con­vince his mom to al­low him to take a gap year in 2009. He ex­celled while play­ing in the am­a­teur leagues in Soweto and got a trial with the Bid­boys – Bid­vest Wits’ re­serve team – where he was signed by Eric Tin­kler af­ter just a week. Just over a year later he was pro­moted into the se­nior team and made an amaz­ing en­trance scor­ing a brace on de­but in Fe­bru­ary 2011 fol­lowed by an­other dou­ble in his sec­ond match. He had scored seven goals by the time he had played his first five games in the Pre­mier Soc­cer League. He even­tu­ally ended that 2010/11 sea­son with eight goals in 10 starts. Ev­ery­one took no­tice. Af­ter his grand ar­rival, the next 30 months that he spent at Wits brought a re­turn of a mere three fur­ther goals with his loan move to Mar­itzburg United in Jan­uary 2014 com­ing as no sur­prise. That move was re­fresh­ing and led to a switch to Mpumalanga Black Aces, which gave birth to Cape Town City last sea­son. Luck­ily through it all, he has man­aged to com­plete his stud­ies. “I ac­tu­ally fin­ished my ac­count­ing de­gree and I am now sup­posed to do my ar­ti­cles as a char­tered ac­coun­tant,” he says. Af­ter a sea­son in which he con­trib­uted six goals and six as­sists for City, the of­fer to re­new his con­tract with The Cit­i­zens was not ap­peal­ing enough to make him stay. “City of­fered me a con­tract re­newal in April but for me it wasn’t enough to make me stay in Cape Town, es­pe­cially when I had a six-month old baby at the time. Plat­inum Stars and La­montville Golden Ar­rows en­quired but then in the end it be­came a choice be­tween the ‘Big Three’ as I strongly be­lieved that this is time for a big step up,” he re­veals. “I wanted a big­ger stage and it was [a choice] be­tween Chiefs, Or­lando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns. All three of them wanted me. Pirates were a maybe but then with all the pol­i­tics there and them not do­ing well, it be­came dif­fi­cult. With Sundowns, they were do­ing well but the only prob­lem is that they have too many play­ers so the de­ci­sion came down to Chiefs who had the plus be­ing that I am from Soweto and Chiefs is around the cor­ner [from home].”

“The op­por­tu­ni­ties of play­ing were

bet­ter at Chiefs, whilst at Sundowns you could eas­ily be for­got­ten about for six months just like at Pirates. With Sundowns I was also hon­est with my­self, I looked at the play­ers that they have in the po­si­tions that I play and com­pared to Chiefs and I re­alised that Chiefs is the best op­tion. In the end it wasn’t a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion be­cause there was that small part telling me to go to Chiefs.” Af­ter all is said and done what mat­ters is that he is up for the chal­lenge. “Me com­ing from Soweto is a bonus be­cause I un­der­stand the cul­ture of the team and just how much we need to play for the fans. I have felt the love from the fans and as play­ers, we need to play for them. Even in the hood ev­ery­one has ex­pec­ta­tions from me al­ready but I am up for the chal­lenge. The one thing about me is that I love chal­lenges and I am up for this one no mat­ter what. “At the end of the day it is not about me but rather the team. The team needs to win tro­phies and all I can aim to do is make a con­tri­bu­tion. As long as the team does well I am okay. Chiefs have the qual­ity to win tro­phies. This is Kaizer Chiefs and we need to al­ways be a step ahead.” .

(Above) Jayiya in ac­tion at Cape Town Sta­dium against City ri­vals Ajax Cape Town.

(Above) Jayiya - voted Man of the Match when Cape Town City played Chippa United.

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