SUNSPORT can confirm that Khayelihle Shozi, who was said to have disappeared without trace, has been found. And he's alive.
Shozi was reported to have disappeared and his dodgy movements started to happen in October last year.
The 27-year-old’s disappearance was all over social media with legend Teko Modise and Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena all asking those who have information about him to contact them.
A picture of a person purported to be that of Shozi picking things out of a dustbin was circulating on Twitter.
Shozi, born in Pinetown, KZN was playing for JDR Stars in the GladAfrica Championship where he was on loan from TS Galaxy.
Shozi's brother, Simphiwe, said he was foun in Joburg.
“He was found at Sun City prison and I’m trying to make plans because he seemed to be not in good condition. They have decided to keep him in a safe place.
“He doesn’t have any case, they just offered him a place to stay,” Simphiwe said.
Shozi was seen as someone who was going to replace Modise at Mamelodi Sundowns, as he had similar features in his game.
But he couldn’t live up to that.
Sundowns loaned him out to SuperSport United in the 2015-16 season, thinking he will develop but did not start a single match.
Shozi showed some promise at Black Leopards in the 2016-17 season, featuring in 25 matches for the GladAfrica Championship-chasing side under Jean Loscuito, as they finished as runners-up to Thanda Royal Zulu.
Sundowns then loaned him out to Richards Bay in the 2017-18 season but he struggled to adapt at the Natal Rich Boyz.
Sundowns then parted ways with him and he joined Galaxy in the 2019-20 season before he was let go at the beginning of this season.
His last appearance for JDR was against Cape Town All Stars on 18 September 2021.
He was sent off by referee Victor Gomes and that’s where the trouble started.
“He punched a player off the ball about 30 minutes into the gam,” said agent Sifiso Zwane.
“That’s where things started to go bad for him. From there he just went AWOL. He was called to a DC and did not appear because no one could locate him.”
Coach Sudesh Singh, who recruited him around 2009-10 from Mabhuti Khenyeza’s team in the lower division to Sundowns development, was glad to hear Shozi was alive.
“I brought him to Sundowns and he was an exceptional talent,” said Singh.
“I hope football people and clubs don’t let him down, we can’t disappoint these kinds of unique talents. We also need to think deeper about the mental health of our players, especially at youth academy levels.”