'I had 15 car accidents': Former Chiefs ace Junior Khanye reveals how his life unravelled
Junior Khanye has revealed that he was involved in 15 car accidents and wrote off several vehicles at the height of his fame while at Kaizer Chiefs.
Khanye, well-known for his on-field dribbling skills, said in an interview with Robert Marawa on the host’s Marawa TV YouTube channel that he won several man-of-the-match awards in his first 10 games for Chiefs.
He became a crowd-pleaser - but overwhelming fame, lots of money, bad influences, women and alcohol ruined his career at Amakhosi.
“I got man-of-the-match awards in my debut against Mamelodi Sundowns, Black Leopards, Ajax Cape Town and in the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates,” said Khanye. “I picked up 10 consecutive man-of-the-match awards in my first 10 games.”
Khanye thought that the world was his oyster when Chiefs offered him a salary increase as his reputation grew.
“After 15 games, I was called into the office by the club and they said they wanted to increase my salary from R6,000 to R12,500 [a month],” he said.
“They said, 'Come here boy, we see a diamond in you. We want to keep you so that you are happy. We are going to give you R12,500.'"
But instead of embracing his good fortune, this salary increase landed Khanye among the wrong company. He was soon spiralling down a path he would battle to emerge from.
“I have to be honest with you. I met a friend from Soweto who stayed in Southgate and we would go to schools in Soweto in a maroon Hyundai car. School learners would go crazy over me because of being a Kaizer Chiefs player.”
Normal schooling would be disrupted during the commotion and this landed the former SA Under-20 and Under-23 player in hot water.
“I was called into the [Kaizer Chiefs] office and they told me that they don’t want a repeat of what happened, as I represent the Kaizer Chiefs brand,” he said.
“They said they wanted to protect me and did not want me to end up like Jabu [Mahlangu].”
But the problems didn’t end there for the Daveyton-born player, as his frequent outings at pubs around Johannesburg after games landed him in serious trouble. On one occasion, he was threatened by four gunmen.
“I remember this one time, we were playing at FNB Stadium against Supersport United and we won the game ... I scored and got the man-of-the-match award. I met up with two guys who claimed to love me and we went to a pub in Vosloorus called Nandy & Nice.
"We got in and sat nicely at a VIP area. As we were enjoying ourselves, the lights went on and a woman saw me, screamed and came to me and grabbed me. She asked me to go out with her. I went out with her. I dropped her off at her place the following day, on a Sunday.
"One of my friends warned me prior to going out with her that she had a man and that man is going to kill me if he found out I was with her!”
Soon after that Saturday night’s fun, death stared Khanye in the face.
“The following Monday, as I was visiting at home, I saw a grey BMW passing by. It turned around and parked next to me, with two guys seated at the back and two in the front. The guys at the back rolled the window down and told me to get into the car. I said I can’t get into a car of people I don’t know.
“One of the guys raised his shirt up and showed me his gun by the stomach. He told me they were actually sent to just kill me straight - without asking me any questions.
“I entered the car and all four men showed me their guns. They asked me why I am going around sleeping with another man’s wife. I explained to them how I met the woman at the pub and luckily for me, because of being liked by one of the guys because I am a Chiefs player, they let me go.”
Khanye’s problems didn’t end there. As a result of not getting his driver’s licence legally, car accidents became a regular occurrence.
“My problems still continued. I got into a lot of bad habits. I got my first car while I was at Chiefs. It was a Golf GTI Limited Edition. I wasn’t perfect in driving but I could go anywhere I wanted to go. I would go to Botswana.
“I have never gone to test for a driver’s licence. I have had 15 car accidents.
"With my first car, I had nine accidents. The insurance company would complain - I would get into an accident, the car would be fixed, and I would get into another accident, the car would be fixed again. I couldn’t drive and sometimes I was driving while under the influence."
As a result of his bad-boy tendencies, the once talented youngster lost it all. “After wasting my talent and career at Chiefs, I was damaged a lot. I remember the bank took my first car. I lost a house - I had a R1.2m house.”
Now 34 years old, the father of four says he is lucky to be alive today.
“Spiritually, I thank God. Thanks God, I am still alive.”