Disappointed Itumeleng Shopane hits out after being released by Kaizer Chiefs

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From rising through the ranks at Naturena while earning caps as a junior international, Itumeleng 'Jomo' Shopane is now left without a club following the termination of his contract.

The 24-year-old spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Swallows in the GladAfrica Championship, making 18 appearances as The Birds won promotion to the DStv Premiership.

Shopane had spent last season on the sidelines after an unfortunate set of circumstances due to injury that sees him now as a free agent.

"I won the Shield Player of the Tournament and then while at Swallows I got into the Under-23 squad which went to Egypt and qualified for the Olympics, so I felt I was pushing for myself.

"Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get a chance at all at Chiefs both before I went on loan and after I returned. If I had gotten a chance, then I would have felt like maybe I did something wrong or flopped but then the fact is that I just didn’t get a chance at all.

"The loan move to Swallows was a positive step which I felt would take me forward but then I couldn’t find the next step again to solidify the foundation. It is a sad tale of events but then it is not the end of the world."

Shopane added that the timing of Chiefs' decision has also made his attempts at finding a new club complicated.

"The Chiefs situation last season was draining, and it is sad that after seven years at Chiefs it has come to this," he added.

"Since winning the league with Swallows it all went sour for us at Chiefs, so I suppose this is now time to move on. I didn’t think they would terminate because I still had two years remaining on my contract, but I was told the coaches couldn’t fit me in their plans.

"They also told us that they can’t get us teams. I think the decision was that the club just didn’t want us anymore. The disadvantage in all of this is that they only made this decision to terminate so late when teams were done with pre-season which will make it difficult to get clubs.

"What is worse with me is that it has been long since I last played plus, I can’t afford not to play again this season. Last season I only played some friendly matches because I wasn't registered. My age mates are playing now so I need to get going as well."

Scroll through the gallery to see Chiefs' youngest
Scroll through the gallery to see Chiefs' youngest debutants since 2006...
14. Phakamani Mngadi made his Chiefs debut aged 19
14. Phakamani Mngadi made his Chiefs debut aged 19 years 11 months and 3 days against University of Pretoria on 13 September 2014
13. Siyabonga Ngezana made his Chiefs debut aged 1
13. Siyabonga Ngezana made his Chiefs debut aged 19 years 11 months and 2 days against Mamelodi Sundowns on 17 October 2017
12. Lucky Baloyi made his debut aged 19 years 10 m
12. Lucky Baloyi made his debut aged 19 years 10 months and 12 days against Mamelodi Sundowns on 1 May 2011
11. Njabulo Blom made his debut aged 19 years 9 mo
11. Njabulo Blom made his debut aged 19 years 9 months and 20 days against Golden Arrows on 1 October 2019
10. Lorenzo Gordinho made his debut aged 19 years
10. Lorenzo Gordinho made his debut aged 19 years 9 months and 16 days against Maritzburg United on 11 February 2014
9. Simphiwe Mtsweni made his debut aged 19 years 7
9. Simphiwe Mtsweni made his debut aged 19 years 7 months and 9 days against Bloem Celtic on 19 February 2014
8. George Lebese made his debut aged 19 years 6 mo
8. George Lebese made his debut aged 19 years 6 months and 27 days against Thanda Royal Zulu on 30 August 2008
7. Jonathan Quartey made his debut aged 19 years 4
7. Jonathan Quartey made his debut aged 19 years 4 months and 10 days against Jomo Cosmos on 25 August 2007.
6. Nkosingiphile Ngcobo made his debut aged 19 yea
6. Nkosingiphile Ngcobo made his debut aged 19 years 3 months and 21 days against Maritzburg United on 9 March 2019
5. Michael Nkambule made his debut aged 19 years 3
5. Michael Nkambule made his debut aged 19 years 3 months and 17 days against Thanda Royal Zulu on 13 February 2005
4. Knowledge Musona made his debut aged 19 years 1
4. Knowledge Musona made his debut aged 19 years 1 month and 18 days against Santos on 8 August 2009
3. Mandla Masango made his Chiefs debut aged 18 ye
3. Mandla Masango made his Chiefs debut aged 18 years and 28 days against Benoni Premier United on 15 August 2007.
2. Wiseman Meyiwa made his Chiefs debut aged 17 ye
2. Wiseman Meyiwa made his Chiefs debut aged 17 years 8 months and 17 days against Cape Town City on 12 September 2017
1. Keletso Sifama was 17 years, 8 months and 17 da
1. Keletso Sifama was 17 years, 8 months and 17 days when he made his debut against Polokwane City on 15 August 2020.