Erstwhile soccer players reminisce of past, painfull experiences at the ‘Wrong Side of the Road’ launch

The campaign seeks to tackle drink and driving in the country and has partnered with erstwhile soccer players- to drive the message.

Simply put: some of our South African soccer players’ face this problem and end up being on the wrong side of the road, following a drinking binge with either fellow teammates, family member or friends.

To curb this phenomenon Diageo SA invited former and current players to be part of the campaign to conscientious young and emerging soccer stars, including any athlete, to be wary of drinking and driving that has, and still, continues to claim lives of players.

Former Kaizer Chiefs dribbling wizard Junior Khanye comes to mind.He was invited to partake in the campaign as a form of identifying with young players having experienced the harsh reality of fame, money and ladies that were part of his ‘daily bread’ whilst playing for the glamour Boys of Phefeni.

“I was an ‘in-thing’ at Chiefs. Young, independent, fame, liquor, money and I slept with any chick I wanted. That was my life. Did not care about tomorrow but what was happening now,” he told guests who were in stitches at the launch held at the must-see and swanky Konka eatery in Pimville-Soweto.

“Binge drinking resulted in me not attending gym because I was in most cases hospitalised. Most of my cars were written-off because of the kind of excitement that overwhelmed me. I did not listen to the likes of the late John “Shoes” Mosoeu who tried in vain to guide me. 

But again which kid (17) by that time will listen when at the end of the month you have a balance of 7k in your account,” asked the father of three-kids who are in Soweto?

“I was admitted to a rehab in Durban, I did not complete it. I went AWOL.

No-one knew what had happened to me. I was going astray”, he confessed.

Junior has now repented and is a member of a church and currently compiling his book. He’s working on a sport show with legendary Robert Marawa, who contributed in mending his wayward behaviour.

Another sad story was tabled by former Orlando Pirates striker Phumlani “BMX” Mkhize, who attempted suicide twice.

Good-looking, strong and maintaining healthy body that could shame some of SA’s current soccer players, “BMX” said he has no house, no car and no wife.

‘I messed up big time. Its regret after the other. I had it all,” says “BMX” who also plied his trade with then African Wanderers from KZN.  

“Did not invest neither bought a property in my name. I’m a sad story to my country and my family. As for my kids its depressing that resulted in me attempting suicide twice but an Angel decided otherwise,” cited Mkhize in a very stern face.

Both agreed this platform would help to share their experiences with emerging soccer stars, who earn good salaries -on the dos’ and don’ts of football and the kind of impact it will have in your life.

Data shows that a scary 88% of drink-drive accidents involve male drivers or riders over the legal alcohol limit in the country.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation has also made a calling to partner with Diageo in championing the message.  

Wrong Side of the Road is developed in partnership with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Sibani Mngadi -Corporate Relations Director at Diageo SA, says the company is ‘deliberately’ taking the Wrong Side of the Road campaign to outlets such as Konka in an effort to spread the message throughout mzansi.

The Wrong Side of the Road campaign- is also supported by the likes former Mamelodi Sundowns midfield maestro Hlompho Kekana, SuperSport striker Bradley Grobeler and Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis.  

Sunday Times multi-award winning sport editor Bareng Batho-Kortjaas was the MC for the day.

Image Jacob MAWELA (From left- Bareng Batho- Kortjaas, Desiree Ellis, Bradley Grobeler, Junior Khanye, Phumlani Mkhize and Hlompho Kekana at the launch held at Konka- Pimville, Soweto).

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