|Can't believe he's gone: Shakes Kungwane|
Two weeks ago, the man I once called Isaac started feeling unwell. We thought it would pass. It didn't. After two days in intensive care, official news of his passing came this afternoon. Anybody who knew him just hoped it was another one of those social network rumours. It wasn't.
We will never see Kaizer Chiefs legend Shakes live in the studio again. The way he lit up those boring goalless clashes, always honest, never glib. The duo with former Mamelodi Sundowns star Zane Moosa was particularly sparky, usually resulting in both men breaking down in huge guffaws.
For me, Shakes was the go-to-guy. When interviewees were disappearing in droves on my Thursday morning show to attend training, I knew I could always rely on Shaaaaakes... not just for a chat but for a laugh, a bit of searing truth amid the guff so many spout about our beloved diski.
He wasn't like the rest. Careful to say the right thing, take the boring inoffensive way out. Shakes was pure kasi, he brought a knowledge, a depth I could never rival. When I addressed him as Isaac, he soon put me right: "Who's Isaac, Nealy?" He was a star who never accepted stardom. He would never leave Alexandra. He was always there for me, even when others turned their back.
On twitter, he never turned a fan away. He'd always respond, he'd always talk. He was superior to nobody while men with half his talent paraded around as unapproachable football and media stars.
I have a couple of interviews I can direct you towards.
There's this on Kingston Nkatha getting booed by Kaizer Chiefs fans last November: http://www.ballz.co.za/bollockz-neal-collins/shakes-kungwane-quotfans-should-not-booquot/2946 or this after Gordon Igesund's Bafana lost to Nigeria in the disastrous CHAN tournament http://neal-collins.blogspot.com/2013/08/shake-it-up-gordon-kungwane-calls-for.html.
Mark Fish and I will spend much of tomorrow morning's Soccerballz on www.ballz.co.za talking about the man, we'll try to get Zane and Kaizer Motaung Junior to join the mourning chorus but the thing is I CAN'T BELIEVE SHAKES IS GONE.
We'll miss you big man. You and your legendary left foot. And that booming laugh. We'll never see your like again.