Happy Mashiane was so excited signing a first team contract that he hugged coach Ernst Middendorp as a thank you.
The left-back grew up in Tembisa and often visited the annual Philly’s Games. That’s when the youngster would usually bump into George Maluleka, who originates from the same township and is a local hero. “I used to take pictures with George,” Mashiane proudly reflects. “Sadly enough, I don’t have these photos anymore.”
“As a child, I took pictures with my hero. Now, after having signed with the senior team, I sit in the same dressing room as George. I am humbled.”
The 20-year-old joined the Kaizer Chiefs Youth Development Academy four years ago. He joined as a left winger from the Future Through Football Academy after been spotted by youth coach Arthur Zwane.
Interestingly, it was Amakhosi’s former right winger, who converted Mashiane to a left-back, at which position he caught the eye of coach Middendorp. “I started training in early January with the first team,” the youngster reflects. The rest is history – ‘Vavo’, as he’s nicknamed, signed earlier this week a contract with the first team.
Mashiane sees his mother Mable as his inspiration. “She ran a daycare from home to get an income. She’s simply amazing. She did everything for me.”
His father, Emmanuel was the one who took care that Gold & Black blood runs through his veins. “My dad has always been a huge Kaizer Chiefs supporter,” Mashiane says. “My big hero was Thabo Mooki. I loved watching him play.”
Nowadays, the left-back closely follows Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, who is also a wing-back. “I have some of his characteristics. Alonso is also a very good crosser of the ball.”
Mashiane actually finds more happiness out of delivering a telling cross into the opponent’s box for one of his teammates to score from, than finding the back of the net himself.
“I don’t like to get favours for scoring a goal,” he modestly explains. “I find it much more rewarding to give an assist.”
When talking about his ambitions, Mashiane concludes by saying, “I want to make my family proud and to make my mother happy. As they say, ‘If a mother is happy everything will fall into place’.”