Mdantsane’s life re­volves on his aun­ties

Star over­comes set­back of los­ing his mom at 16 and not know­ing father

Sunday World - - Sport - By Sihle Nde­bele

Grow­ing up not know­ing his father and los­ing his mother at the age of 16 nearly ended Baroka mid­field en­forcer Mduduzi Mdantsane’s foot­ball ca­reer dur­ing its teething stage.

Mdantsane, now one of the key play­ers for Bak­gaga, lost his mother when he was in grade 10. Two weeks af­ter bury­ing his beloved mom, the Baroka star lost his ma­ter­nal grand­mother.

As an as­pir­ing foot­baller try­ing to work his way up to the elite league from the dusty streets of Leslie, near Se­cunda in Mpumalanga, the trauma of los­ing two of the most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in his life saw Mdantsane quit foot­ball and turn to booz­ing.

“I was very close to my mother. Los­ing both her and my grand­mother hit me very hard. I grew up want­ing to play foot­ball pro­fes­sion­ally, so badly. But af­ter los­ing the most im­por­tant peo­ple in my life, I could not take it,” he said.

“I ended up drink­ing and bunk­ing classes, try­ing to re­lieve stress. All these ex­pe­ri­ences led to me fail­ing my ma­tric.”

As much as he’d like to know his bi­o­log­i­cal dad, the 23-yearold cen­tral-de­fen­sive mid­fielder in­sists his ma­ter­nal grandpa, Moses Mbo­nani, plugged that gap.

“I’ll for­ever be grate­ful to my grand­fa­ther. He en­sured that I don’t feel the [void]. Yes, every­one needs his real dad, es­pe­cially as a boy child, but my grandpa [Mbo­nani] is a won­der­ful father fig­ure to me,” said Mdantsane.

The mid­field strong­man, how­ever, has a shoul­der to lean on in his mother’s three sib­lings Por­tia, Cyn­thia and Sharon Mbo­nani at his ma­ter­nal fam­ily home in Se­cunda.

“They are my aunts but I call them sis­ters be­cause we are like friends. When­ever I don’t have matches, I go to Se­cunda to visit them,” he said.

“They are my pil­lar of strength, along­side umkhulu wami [my grandpa]. I usu­ally take them to movies. We like com­edy flicks.”

The star grew up us­ing his mother’s sur­name of Mbo­nani un­til he changed it in grade 12 to Mdantsane, which is the name of his dad, who he only came to know later in life.

/ Sup­plied

Baroka mid­fielder Mduduzi Mdantsane at home with his aunts Por­tia, left, and Sharon Mbo­nani.

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