Cape Town - MultiChoice Diski Challenge ambassador Jabu Mahlangu gave moving speeches during the tournament’s workshops with the youngsters.
Players attended life-skills workshops, which is part of the initiatives introduced by MultiChoice. The sessions took place in the first two weekends of the competition in Durban and Cape Town, where all the teams got a chance to be addressed by the former star.
“This is the first time that an initiative like this has happened in our local football, grab it with both hands,” Jabu told the youngsters.
The former darling of SA football shared what he encountered as a young footballer, who had just received his first lucrative contract at Kaizer Chiefs, and was faced with lot of distractions off the field.
“We never had experienced players coming to guide us when we were in development. For me to be here is about guiding you. You have the talent and ability, the choice is yours.”
“It’s nice to be a star and fly to everywhere, but you need to be disciplined. Respect will take you far,” he said, when speaking to the young footballers in one of the workshops.
“To be top takes years but to fall only takes a phone call, you can fall in one hour and lose all that you’ve worked hard for.”
Jabu mentioned that he found it hard to remain focused and disciplined when he suddenly made headlines. Unfortunately his name also dominated the front pages for wrong reasons, as he partied hard after the matches and in days leading up to the weekend.
“Imagine if I stayed sober and had a disciplined lifestyle, I was going to do what I did on the field five times more.”
The Daveyton-born also shared that he had lot of friends from different industries during his heydays, but they all left when he was facing difficulties – with no one willing to help.
“When you are down, no one will take your calls. I never got help from anyone when I was down. All the stars I used to hang around with were nowhere to be found,” he continued.
The 35-year-old, who just retired after making his comeback at SuperSport United, following a number of years without a team – also offered advice about the importance of family.
“When you are a footballer, it’s about the name on the back of your jersey, you’re representing them. When you face difficult times, you will look everywhere, but you will be left alone in embarrassment. You will only have your family with you.”
The former star, who is one of the few players to score on his national team debut, reminded the young lads that they were fortunate to have him sharing his experiences with them.
“Take my advice, I lived that life, it wasn’t narrated to me. I was there, I experienced it. What I regret is the right things I didn’t do when I had a chance.”
Jabu encouraged the players to strive for excellence and aim for the top, regardless of the challenges they may face along the way.
“It doesn’t mean that if you have challenges you must give up on your dream,” he concluded.