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'Shuffle', watch out for the sharks out there

By unknown | May 03, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Jabu Mahlangu is in trouble... again!

Jabu Mahlangu is in trouble... again!

Just when one thought the young man called "Shuffle" was on the straight and narrow, now this.

Mahlangu was yesterday reported to be in the process of handing himself over to the police following allegations of kidnapping and rape after a 19- year-old woman laid charges against him.

Now, I like Shuffle very much. I have known him from the days he and his Greater Benoni side were cheating their way to various Under-12 trophies.

They collected these like peanuts and represented our district and region with "aplomb" while legitimate Under-12 boys were standing on the sidelines and watching the team later named International cover itself in "glory".

There were two grown-ups (names withheld) who fiddled with these boys' birth certificates, making them a couple of years younger than they actually were.

The youngsters went along with these nefarious dealings and allowed themselves to be used in fraudulent activities.

What added insult to injury is that their parents and guardians knew about this and chose to ignore it, which may have made the youngsters also see nothing wrong in the practice.

Years later Shuffle rocked up at Kaizer Chiefs' academy where he performed so well that he easily broke into the first team. He set the local football scene alight with his incredible skill. The national teams could not ignore him, and he didn't disappoint.

He was, with Steven Pienaar, the youngest member of the Bafana Bafana squad at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He played as a substitute against Slovenia in the historic 1-0 win.

As his star was rising, so did his troubles. Drinking binges and groupies became his companions and he made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He skipped training, missed important matches and crashed cars like nobody's business.

He had partners in crime too, the likes of Patrick Mbuthu and childhood friend Thabiso "Skaapie" Malatsi, but they didn't attract as much attention as him.

It would not help to go into all the detail of Shuffle's misfortunes but, while some were of his own making, we have to guard against blaming him for all accusations levelled at him.

Past experience has taught us that there are vultures out there who are ready to pounce on sports stars and celebrities for reasons best known to the perpetrators.

Remember Mike Tyson, Makhaya Ntini and Shuffle's own teammate Benedict Vilakazi? The list of such high-profile sports stars being waylaid by fortune seeking groupies is endless - some have been destroyed by such actions with Tyson coming out of it the worst.

Since Shuffle joined Orlando Pirates he has been trying to keep out of trouble and rebuild his life and that of his family. His wife, Thoana, is the daughter of a close friend of mine. We call him Bizzah, very nice man indeed.

Now, when everybody was letting Shuffle do what he does best, the ghosts of the past come back to haunt him in the guise of a 19- year-old woman who has reportedly not been near her home for the past two weeks. Really!

Can anyone imagine what the latest allegations may be doing to Shuffle and his extended family?

Maybe the last word should be directed at Shuffle himself.

Boy, there are a lot of sharks out there, choose your friends carefully and resist temptation at all costs.

It is not possible for anyone to be loved by everybody. Some are out there for what they can get out of you and will go to any lengths to pull you down.

Some of us, though we may be vilified, will stand by you to the end.


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