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Mashiane Happy to be back on field

Happy Mashiane hopes to make the most of his recovery from an injury by breaking into the Kaizer Chiefs first team and playing regularly. /Richard Huggard/Gallo Images
Happy Mashiane hopes to make the most of his recovery from an injury by breaking into the Kaizer Chiefs first team and playing regularly. /Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Even when a golden opportunity to play for Mamelodi Sundowns went up in smoke, Kaizer Chiefs star Happy Mashiane never despaired.

The Tembisa-born Mashiane spent some time at Sundowns academy in his salad days. The 21-year-old wing-back's childhood aspiration to play top-flight football took a slight knock when the Brazilians decided to move the academy from Chloorkop to Pretoria.

"I started playing football when I was very young, playing for an amateur club called Tembisa Black Pirates in Tembisa. After that I went to the Sundowns academy, but I stopped when they relocated from Chloorkop to Pretoria," Mashiane told Sowetan.

"I was very young to travel from Tembisa to Pretoria alone, so I left the academy. At that time I felt like the dream of playing professionally was dying. gradually, but I kept on believing. I never dropped my head and I think that's why I am at Chiefs today."

Having just burst onto the top-flight scene in January from Chiefs' MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) side, Mashiane has already earned a lot of plaudits in the local football fraternity. Despite shooting to stardom at a young age, the Amakhosi gem maintains he's still a child, abiding by his parents' teachings.

"I am still the same Happy I was when I was still playing in the MDC [the reserve league]. I am a focused boy, who listens to his parents [Mable and Emmanuel Mashiane]," said Mashiane, who joined Amakhosi youth set-up from a Sandton-based academy called Future Trough Football.

"My mother always tells me to be mindful of fame. She has made me understand that I am a role model now, meaning I must be disciplined on and off the field."

Mashiane has just recovered from a toe injury that sidelined him for several months. Featuring for the first time this season, the Tembisa boy played the last 10 minutes in Chiefs' 1-0 win over Baroka last month. "It feels good to be back. I hope to continue where I left off last season. People expect a lot from me, so I do not want to disappoint," said Mashiane, who impressed in all four matches he featured in in all tournaments last term.

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