“I knew that the East Rand produced some of the finest footballers and that encouragement me,” says Happy Mashiane, “I did not endure a difficult upbringing, but in terms of my football career, it was not an easy path to get to the professional level.”
Mashiane hails from Umnonjaneni which he describes as a ‘small section’ in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg.
“I was fortunate to grow up under a good mentor like Ghino Johnson,” says Mashiane. “Ghino always told me that I have the potential to make it in the professional ranks. He always pushed me to work hard. Ghino started a development team called Future Through Football (FTF) which I played for. The team was based in Sandton. It was not easy, but he organised transport for us to travel to and from training. We had a great time with Ghino at FTF.”
Mashiane played for FTF from 2014 January and joined Amakhosi in June 2014.
“After playing for under Ghino’s guidance for a few months, we then had an opportunity to play against Kaizer Chiefs U-17 in the league,” elaborates Mashiane. “I impressed during the game and got invited to Kaizer Chiefs youth Academy for trials. As the saying goes, the rest is history. Here I am a Glamour Boy today.”
Mashiane played for three and a half seasons with the Chiefs reserves team before earning a promotion in January 2019 to Chiefs’ senior team.
“My mother ran a day care centre,” reveals Mashiane. “My father was retrenched from work and had since continued doing some work as a plumber.”
Mashiane would go on to make an official debut for the first team in a 1-0 win over Tornado FC in a Nedbank Cup last 32 game on 26 January 2019. Mashiane came on as a 73rd minute substitute replacing Dumsani Zuma.
“Since gaining promotion to the first team, my life changed for the better,” says Mashiane, “But I still face challenges though, especially in this era that is dominated by social media. We all know social media can make or break you. So being a role model to the younger ones comes with pressure because whatever you do, they try to emulate.”
Mashiane was part of the Chiefs reserves team that won the inaugural 2018 MultiChoice Diski Shield.
“Playing for the Academy comes with pressure knowing very well it is every young boy’s dream to be associated with the brand Kaizer Chiefs,” says Mashiane. “I was one of the fortunate players to be accommodated in the Chiefs Academy. That came with the responsibility to be on my toes all the time. We were well looked after in the Academy, from nutritional meals, school transport and uniform.
“We had great mentors in the Academy. Legends such as Ryder Mofokeng, Ace Khuse and Arthur Zwane have been in the game for long and they played a huge role in our upbringing. They taught us a lot and I will always remember their advice.”
Mashiane is a former South Africa junior international and won the 2017 COSAFA U-20 Challenge Cup.
He is also member of the South African Olympic team. They finished in 3rd place at the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics (postponed due to Covid-19).
“I am proud to say the least,” says 22-year-old Mashiane. “It is a great honour to play for Kaizer Chiefs and represent my country.”
Like many youngsters, Mashiane says that he would like to ultimately play overseas for one of the top teams.
As June is Youth month, the left-footed player has a message for the young people of this country. “My message to the youth is to respect and remember those who fought trying to make South Africa a better place,” he concluded.