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Ex-Pirates, Chiefs striker Mkhize opens up about near-suicide attempt

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Mkhize featured prominently for Durban club African Wanderers before making it big with Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in the mid 2000s. However, he has spoken about how a problematic party culture, poor handling of money and struggles with alcohol ultimately saw his career go off the rails.

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It led Mkhize to a point where he was broke and homeless, even begging for money on the streets of his hometown Estcourt in KwaZulu Natal, but the 49-year-old has since begun to turn his life around after getting back into football as a coach of junior teams in his local area.

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Recently speaking at ‘Diageo’s Wrong Side of the Road Campaign’, which is aimed at creating awareness around the dangers of driving under the influence, Mkhize spoke candidly about his past life, including a shooting incident.

“When things started heating up, after I lost my career after the gunshot at Chiefs, when I went back home, when people looked at me, they thought it was all over (for me). I remember one time, I locked myself in my room. I took my gun, I put it in front of me. I said ‘because cars cannot end my life, I am going to end my life myself,” he commented, as quoted by the Phakaathi website

“Right then something came across my mind, there were people who needed me that I have forgotten. I have kids, something came into my mind, to say ‘people need you’.”

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Mkhize is now coaching Under-15 and Under-17 teams in Estcourt.

Mkhize went on to further discuss the 2003 incident when he accidentally shot himself in the leg with his own gun, which effectively ended his career.

“I opened up my house, I had no money, I started to stand on the streets asking for a lift to town, asking if anyone had two Rand. Football is in my heart, after that … I had to start afresh, to tell the truth to people…

“Today I have nothing. Not one car, not a wife, not a house to sleep in,” Mkhize added.

“I must say alcohol destroyed my life, my career, everything. If I had managed to look after myself at that time when I was playing, I wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”

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