LERATO Chabangu has pleaded with the Mzansi public not to give up on him.
Last week it was reported the soccer star had gone awol from his club after failing to report for pre-season training.
See: CHABANGU GOES AWOL
The former Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows player is battling to keep his ailing career alive.
The 33-year-old midfield maestro was down and out, struggling to get by following a number of poor life decisions that saw him lose everything he had worked for.
However, he was given a lifeline by ABC Motsepe League outfit Baberwa FC.
But it appears as though Chabangu is still battling to overcome the demons that threatened to destroy him.
As a result, the former Bafana Bafana star has asked the third-tier club for some time off to deal with his personal problems.
SunSport paid Chabangu a visit at his home in Tembisa, where he lives with his mother and older brother.
He was sleeping when we arrived late morning but graciously woke up to chat to us.
He insisted he had no intention of hanging up his boots just yet.
“I’m still at Baberwa, I will see how long I can push myself,” said Chabangu, who sounded down throughout the interview.
“I want to continue playing until my legs are gone. Football is everything to me and I feel that I still have a lot to offer in the field of play.
“But for now, I have decided to take a little break just to deal with a few issues. I will be back to help the team fight for promotion to the National First Division.”
When asked if he was not already messing up his second chance at Baberwa, Chabangu said he had personal issues he could not divulge.
Mpho Lerato Chabangu
Date of birth15 August 1985
Club information - Current team Pretoria Callies
Youth career - Supersport United
*Years Team Apps (Goals)
2003–2005 Pretoria University 32 (12)
2005–2009 Mamelodi Sundowns 81 (14)
2009 Supersport United 9 (0)
2009–2010 Mamelodi Sundowns 2 (0)
2011–2015 Moroka Swallows 112 (16)
2015–2016 Chippa United 7 (1)
2017–2018 Mikhado FC 20 (22)
2018– Pretoria Callies 15 (40)
2005 South Africa U-20 60 (0)
2005–2014 South Africa 28 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
His friend, Sechaba Masina, said Chabangu needed people to support and not to judge him.
Chabangu said he wanted to help the younger generation to avoid making the same mistakes he made during his heydays.
He said footballers needed to be better educated about financial management while still playing.
“As a youngster, you make a lot of stupid mistakes, but what is important is to learn from them.
“When it’s bad, you don’t have anyone around to guide and support you. That’s the sad part.
“I’m willing to share with them my story.
“We were never educated about finances; they just told us to ‘invest’. We did not know where and how. And as you can see, that didn’t work out well for a lot of us. The new generation needs to be guided,” he said.