When the name of his former team, Mpumalanga Black Aces which later became Cape Town City was brought up in an interview with FARPost, Bhongolethu Jayiya’s face lit up, bursting with joy and his mood lightened.
It is therefore not surprising that the Soweto-born attacking midfielder – 27 years old at the time and in his prime enjoyed a fruitful spell in the blue and gold colours of City during the 2016/17 campaign.
“It was a great bunch of players. We enjoyed what we were doing. Cape Town City, it was fire, I was just having fun, it was just enjoyment. We had Lebogang [Manyama] Aubrey [Ngoma], Mpho Matsi, all of those players, they wanted to enjoy,” Jayiya told FARPost.
Jayiya played an instrumental role when the ‘The Citizens’ clinched the 2016 Telkom Knockout title and was influential in City finishing third on the Absa Premiership log standings back in 2017.
During the 2016/17 season, the now 30-year-old appeared in 24 matches for City in all competitions, scoring six goals, providing two assists.
The man affectionately known as ‘Powerball’ netted the second fastest hat-trick in South African football history when City beat Chippa United 4-1 on 3 April 2017. It came inside 10 minutes, second only to James Chamanga, who scored a four-minute for Moroka Swallows in 2007.
Jayiya continued: “Aces was good, it was just a bunch of players who wanted to prove themselves, players who wanted to enjoy football, achieve great things. If you could look at that team, the majority of the players went to big teams, some of them went into coaching, some retired.
“I was actually reluctant to go to Cape Town when they told us that we are moving, I didn’t want to go at all and the guys convinced me to go and look, it turned out great and I enjoyed myself, I am grateful, those moments I will cherish them in my life.
“Cape Town is a beautiful city. I have always wanted to play in Cape Town, there was a time Ajax wanted to sign me, but Wits didn’t want to let me go. I wanted to experience the life there and see how it is,” added the former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder.
Jayiya went on to say that he is grateful to his former coaches in Muhsin Ertuğral and Eric Tinkler as they both managed to get the best out of him that season.
“I will always be grateful to coach Eric. Mushin was one coach, he would take me to a point where I don’t want to be but he took out the best out of me, I am grateful for that. Eric was the same thing, Eric coached me from Wits, so he knew what I am capable of, so I just had to be myself.”
Following an unforgettable 2016/17 season Jayiya parted ways with City to join ‘Amakhosi’ as the player felt that he needed to make ‘a big club move’.
“The move to Chiefs had a lot of things, complications, I wanted to stay at Cape Town City, we had a negotiation with the boss John Comitis, we didn’t agree on the packages and everything… I just had to move.
“Is not about the money, it was about a package that is suitable for me and my family because I had a young daughter at the time, new born and because I am a family orientated person, I wanted to go back to Joburg, I wanted to be around my family,” Jayiya revealed.
“I met up with my agent, I need to make a big club move, in my career I have played for all the small teams. I remember we inquired with Mamelodi Sundowns, Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Sundowns had many players in my position, so it was between Chiefs and Pirates. I sat down with my mom, my mom is a Chiefs supporter, she said to me, ‘my child whatever you choose is fine but for me it would be nice to see you play at Chiefs’.
“Right now, if I could get a team, I know I got the right mentality to carry on and keep growing, it is life.
“I went to a team that comes with big pressures, when I joined Chiefs, there was a lot of pressure, they hadn’t won a trophy for about 3 to 4 years and you are a new player coming in and there are players who are playing well but haven’t been able to bring in trophies.
“So as a new player to come in and start playing was going to be hard, so I thought I would get a chance and my mind at that time when I wasn’t playing was mainly focused on my family, I told myself, things are not happening right now I can’t force things, let me just focus on what I can control which is my family.”
The midfielder made 20 appearances for ‘The Glamour Boys’ and provided only two assists. Despite failing to make an impression at Chiefs, Jayiya says he doesn’t have any regrets and he is grateful for the opportunity Chiefs gave him.
“I wasn’t focused on grabbing the opportunity because I had been sidelined for so long,” said the former Wits and Maritzburg United man.
“If I had the same mentality I had when I was at City, it was going to be a different story. I have no grudges, it is life, it happens, you just have to take it on the chin and move on,” concluded Jayiya, who has been clubless since he was released by the ‘Amakhosi’ at the end of last season.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi