Midfielder who loves to laugh

Shongwe talks about his move to the Eastern Cape and calls on fans to come and have a chat when they see him

When things turn sour and results are not forthcoming at Chippa United, Jabulani Shongwe is the one who lifts the players’ spirits.

The Chilli Boys have had a very challenging start to their Absa Premiership League campaign this season, with results not coming and the change of coaching staff early in the season after the axing of Dan Malesela.

The poor start has seen Chippa languishing at the bottom of the log.

Under new coach Eric Tinkler, the team managed to bag their first win – against Baroka FC. Their most recent result was a goalless draw against Golden Arrows.

Shongwe – Mr Funny as he is known by his teammates because of the jokes he cracks during training and in the change rooms – has been key in cheering up the team during tough times this season.

He joined the Port Elizabeth-based professional club this season, after spending a season on loan at Golden Arrows.

The 28-year-old midfielder from Emalahleni in Witbank described himself as funny, chilled and honest – and a person, who respects those around him.

“I love laughing. Whenever I am around people, I want them to be happy and to forget about their problems,” Shongwe said.

“Getting to know your teammates is important. Some people don’t want to be made fun of so you don’t want to pull a prank on someone, who will take it personally or to heart.

“I usually tease goalkeeper Veli Mothwa, Boikanyo Komane, Tebogo Tlolane and Tebogo Makobela.

“I make sure that I stay away from Thamsanqa Sangweni because he is a serious guy. But he has his moments.”

Shongwe’s professional career hit a high when he joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2010.

After spending four years with the team, he was loaned out to Bidvest Wits at the beginning of 2014 and was later signed by the Clever Boys.

The gifted left footer spent last season at Golden Arrows before making his way to the Chilli Boys.

“My contract was coming to an end with Wits. I sat down with Arrows as they had shown interest in me, but we did not agree on the financial side of things.

“I received a call from Chippa to say they had spoken to my agent andwanted me to join the team.

“Because I had worked with coach Dan Malesela – who was Chippa’s coach at the time – at the school of excellence I knew what type of a coach he was. I said ok.

“I told myself: it’s fine, I can come to PE and start a new life.” Shongwe said the move to the Eastern Cape had not been easy, but with the help of his teammates he had adjusted to the new environment .

“My new teammates have welcomed me with open arms and I have jelled well with them.

“Changing provinces takes its toll on you as a person because you have to get used to the surrounds and the weather.

“For me, adjusting was not easy, but the guys have helped me a lot to adapt to the new environment.

“They have given me the support that I need and I feel I am starting to get used to the new life in PE,” he said.

“I am very approachable so if supporters bump into me at the mall or anywhere they must not be afraid to come and say hi, take a selfie or talk to me and get to know me better.”