Fact File – Lerato Chabangu

Making His Mark For Swallows

Despite being part of an underperforming team, Lerato Chabangu is consistently making his mark for his club Moroka Swallows.

Personal Information
Full names: Lerato Mpho Chabangu
Date of birth: 15 August 1985
Place of birth: Johannesburg, Tembisa
Nickname: Ace
Position: Winger
Club: Moroka Swallows
Previous Clubs: Fighters, City Blacks, Esselen Park, Leicester City, Kempton Park (all amateur), Supersport United Juniors, University of Pretoria, Mamelodi Sundowns, Supersport United
Honours: 17 Bafana caps, 14 U23 caps, 6 U20 caps, U20 2004 COSAFA Cup, 2003/04 2nd Division champion, 2005/06 and 2006/07 PSL champion, 2007 SAA Supa 8, 2008 Nedbank Cup

Lerato, what was your best experience at the Africa Cup of Nations?
The announcement of the final squad of 23 was emotional for me considering I was almost written off prior to joining Moroka Swallows two years ago. Then the opening ceremony itself was amazing and I was proud that football had brought such a celebratory mood to Africa. And playing, it was a different stage, because of the noise you cannot hear your teammates but you must still be able to pass the ball. I stand proud right now.

What position are you most comfortable playing?
As long as I am going forward I don`t care what position I am playing. I can play on the left, right and centre.

Which opposition player`s jersey have you kept as a souvenir?
I exchanged jerseys with Sulley Muntari after they beat us at FNB Stadium (2006 World Cup qualifier played on June 18, 2005, 0-2). Before that match I had gone to trial at Udinese and Sulley took upon himself to take care of me. He explained at training because it was all in Italian.
The best talent from the national Under-20 squad not playing in the PSL right now.
I wonder what happened to Masilo Modubi, the guy from Polokwane. Modubi was quality, the last time I heard of him, he had picked up a long-term injury.

What are your thoughts on abuse against women?
It is important to learn to share things whether good or bad with your partner to avoid confrontation situations. The best things to do when an argument threatens to turn ugly is to just walk away. And my rule is never to shout or fight in front of the kids, because you don`t want them growing in fear.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made in your life?
I have had too many friends who brought no value to my life and I didn`t even have time for my family. I have learnt that you must never push your family away.

Whose phone number do you know by heart?
My wife. I love her and she has stuck by me for many years through good, bad and ugly.

How often do you give hair attention?
I like the Bongo dreads that I have right now. However, my biggest challenge is maintenance. I usually don`t have time for treatment, which is why my hair ends up looking junk at times.

And what do you usually read?
I have learnt to read the Bible, which has helped me stay on the right path. I also read football and lifestyle magazines along with the sports pages of newspapers.

Ok, let`s move on. Tell us about the team`s crazy characters.
Katlego ‘Mahoota’ Mashego is always funny. He`s always coming up with impersonations that are pretty funny. He will tell you a story about what a former coach of his said, but then he will put on the coach`s accent and we will just laugh. He’s good like that. Mpho Maleka was also funny, while he was still with us. The coach will ask him, ‘Mpho, are you 100% okay?’ He will respond, ‘No,no,no, coach, I’m 99,9% okay!’ The one funny incident I remember…the ball was up in the air and Cisse, being a bit crazy, ran into Ashraf and he broke his arm. The players thought it was quite funny, but I felt bad for him. We had a laugh about it because we didn`t know that Cisse had broken his arm.

And who is the best and worst dressers at Swallows?
Macbeth Sibaya has some swag. Diggang Mabalane also dresses pretty well. As for the worst dressed, I`ve seen some funny thing in the dressing room, but let`s leave it …