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Not even MaMkhize reality show could dream up Royal AM script

Royal AM owner Shauwn Mkhize is living the South African football dream. Picture: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

Royal AM owner Shauwn Mkhize is living the South African football dream. Picture: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

Published Apr 8, 2022

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Johannesburg - Shauwn Mkhize didn’t imagine it would get this big this soon. But now that it’s looking possible with every passing game, she needs a clear head. Greed and the rush of things could lead to Royal AM’s downfall.

When the flamboyant tycoon bought the status of Bloemfontein Celtic before the start of the season, all she wanted was a seat at the table. Money was not a problem, so losing the court case for automatic promotion couldn’t stand in her way either.

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ALSO READ: Royal AM’s Thabo Matlaba promises fans CAF Champions League football next season

Being the president of a top-flight side appeared to be all that she cared about, at first. So much so that the relocation of the club from Mangaung to Pietermaritzburg wasn’t seamless. Players were reportedly not cared for as they allegedly lived under dire situations at the clubhouse.

It was as if ‘MaMkhize’ was all about churning out new content for her reality tv show ‘KwaMaMkhize’. And it didn’t matter even if it tainted the image of the multi-billion Rand league or the well-being of the players. It was about living the dream.

Players were paid winning bonuses publicly on national television, while sound speakers covered for the cacophony of noise that would have been echoed by the supporters after every goal at the empty stadiums at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Her influence and will meant nothing – even sworn allegiances – could stand in the way of getting what she wanted.

Joy ‘MamaJoy’ Chauke shook the football fraternity when she terminated a relationship she had formed with Orlando Pirates for generations to become the first notable supporter of Thwihli Thwahla.

ALSO READ: A Royal mess ... Shauwn Mkhize’s acts highlight SA football’s juvenile tendencies

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But in the midst of MaMkhize’s personal euphoria, the players were working their socks off behind the scenes. After all, they know all about getting the business done on the field of play even though they come second best as far as their well-being is concerned.

This was the same Celtic team that had reached two successive finals, the Nedbank Cup and MTN8, in the midst of a pandemic where the club’s financial troubles – aided by the nonpayment of salaries – had been laid bare.

ALSO READ: Shauwn Mkhize says ‘God is showing off’ when it comes to Royal AM following bonus saga

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So it was a matter of time before coach John Maduka propelled his players to do their talking on the pitch. They did exactly that, pulling off giant slaying results en route to the top of the table.

Thwihli Thwahla are holding an African Champions League qualifying spot with only six matches standing between them and the improbable.

Not even ‘MaMkhize’ dreamt of that. “We want to be stable and not be relegated,” she said early in the season.

So should Maduka and his troops pull off the improbable, that doesn’t mean she should start getting greedy.

Instead, she should continue to back the current crop of coaches and players as she’s learnt to in the last few months.

Some club bosses would want to change coaching personnel once the team reaches a certain level. But there are good stories coming out of Royal AM, and MaMkhize should guard against tarnishing that!

@Mihlalibaleka

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