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Zongo needs help - Jabu

Zongo appeared before the club's disciplinary committee this week and was dismissed after missing training from April 9 to 19.
A disappointed Mahlangu said yesterday it was clear that his pleas to Zongo had fallen on deaf ears. Mahlangu had tried to talk some sense to the serial truant but Zongo seemingly never listened.
"I am sad. I always say I don't want amajita to make the same mistakes that I made and that's why when I talk about my life experiences, I'm honest. If I messed up, I don't beat about the bush [about it]," he said.
During his playing days, Mahlangu was known as Ngwana wa Tshwenya [problem child] because of his bad behaviour off-the-field. He gave his former clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates innumerable headaches, skipping training sessions and club commitments.
Mahlangu said he spoke to Zongo prior to him signing for the Rustenburg-based side in January 2014 and he hoped that the player would turn his life around and fulfil his great potential.
"I still can't believe this. Zongo can tell you I spoke to him at least three times and that was face-to-face, not on the phone.
"He plays in the tournament ekasi lam' [in my township] in Daveyton and he has friends there. Just before he trained with Platinum Stars, he came to me to ask for money to buy food. I asked him what was happening with him and that we were missing him [on the field]. That's when he told me that he was going to train with Platinum Stars," Mahlangu recalled.
"I sat down with him and told him [to] ... grab that opportunity at Platinum Stars and maybe that could be your last one... Use it right and leave alcohol alone. Leave the bottle'.
"I know what it means to stay without any income. I once stayed without an income for two years. Zongo told me, 'This time I will make sure I do the right things' and we ended it there."
But to Mahlangu's disappointment Zongo never changed his ways.
"I would see him in Daveyton having a nice time and ask him what he was doing there while he should be in Rustenburg. He would tell me they were off... I'm close to coach Cavin [Johnson] and he would tell me the boy was not at training. I was honest with the coach and told him that I saw him in Daveyton."
Mahlangu said the country couldn't afford to give up on the likes of Zongo. Instead, all the football stakeholders must find lasting solutions for players who stray off the field.
"I can't put all the blame on Zongo, it is tough out there. He wants to do the right things, but you should consider his upbringing. From the generation of Teenage Dladla until now, we've had the same problem.
"Why is it that football people are not sitting down to find the solutions? In most cases, it is us black people ... Whites, for example, come from families that are properly structured. Where we come from, the parents drink," he argued.
"We have players dying in the wee hours of the morning. Why? In my experience, I wrote off two cars. I was drunk. I can tell you that many current players are in this situation. Engage me, Lovers Mohlala, Lucas Tlhomelang and many others to help these boys."
Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Staff writter

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