Obituary – Farewell Kasi Flavour

2014-06-01 15:00

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Larger-than-life soccer maestro Isaac “Shakes” Kungwane died on Wednesday afternoon aged 43.

The married father of three and former Kaizer Chiefs and Manning Rangers midfielder lost his battle against diabetes after being admitted to a private hospital on Sunday morning. He was just 43 years of age.

“He couldn’t take it because he was never, ever sick,’’ said his devastated brother Aaron. “He was a comical character on and off the field, and society just loved him. He will be sorely missed by family and football fanatics. His soul, I’m sure, will rest in peace.”

While the football fraternity marvelled at his wizardry with the ball, Shakes was idolised by fans at the peak of his career at Chiefs.

The nimble-footed player started his soccer path at Alex Blackpool (the team where Orlando Pirates chairperson

Irvin Khoza made his debut as an administrator) at an early age until he was spotted by Vincent Williams, who was the manager of Amakhosi’s developmental sides back then.

Kungwane later had a brief stint at Jomo Cosmos, but things did not go well for him there and the matter ended with the Professional Soccer League’s disciplinary committee clearing him to play for Chiefs.

He was hardly in matric when he joined Chiefs and, as they say, the rest is history.

Shakes’ fortunes turned for the better after he retired from playing and pursued a career as a soccer commentator and analyst.

As an analyst on SuperSport’s soccer channel, Shakes earned the nickname “Kasi Flavour” because of his top-class ­analysis of games that conformed to township standards. There is no doubt this helped improve the channel’s ratings and subscription numbers.

Shakes, like Khoza, was born and bred in Alexandra township in northern Joburg. Unlike those who dread where they were born after gaining fame and fortune, both have come to be symbols of Gomorrah, as Alex is known.

The township was Shakes’ first love. He was passionate about the community and was idolised everywhere he went. Something most might not know about him is that he was an avowed Pirates supporter and will probably still be one in heaven!

Shakes loved being admired by the community. He used to joke with anyone who cared to listen that he did not grace any occasion if he was not paid an appearance fee because of his popularity.

As Alexandra woke up to the sad news of the passing of this soccer legend who was capped twice by the national team, there was an aura of sombreness as the country heaved heavily at the loss of this son of the soil.

Kungwane was one of the two players that I know who could make a football talk.

He played his game in the mould of Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane, formerly with the now-defunct African Wanderers. Short on pace and very accurate with his passes, Shakes has been christened the best passer of the ball in South Africa’s club football history.

His vision was unbelievable. Pundits said that during his illustrious career, whenever in possession, all his team-mates would start fanning out as they knew he would string a pass anywhere and at any time.

He is one player coaches knew they did not have to tell to release the ball. Kungwane will be buried on Saturday in Fafung, North West, his ancestral place.

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