by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AUGUSTINE Mahlonoko has alleged that hackers gained access to his social media account and triggered reports that he was taking a break from football.
In an exclusive interview with CAJ News Africa, Mahlonoko dispelled the reports that sent shockwaves in the South African football fraternity, a majority with a soft spot for him after his history-making exploits.
The youngest player ever to debut for Orlando Pirates expressed disappointment that some media relied on the post and published articles without verifying with him.
A post attributed to him suggested he was “taking a break” to pursue “happiness, mental health and peace.”
Mahlonoko, now a Baroka player, has disowned the now-deleted thread that went viral and sparked speculation he might eventually retire at his fairly young age.
“I’m still playing football,” said the 20-year-old who is on loan at Pretoria Callies.
Mahlonoko alleged that hackers breached his social page and posted the said messages. Apparently some media used this as their source.
“My Facebook account was hacked. I was never active on Monday,” he said.
“I was also shocked when one of my friends showed me the article. I’m so disappointed in some media for spreading such news.”
The midfielder added, “These reports affect my career because I’m on loan from Baroka and they’re surprised with these reports. These guys (media) must do their investigations before writing such stories. I’m hurt.”
The player is relieved Baroka and Callies accepted his explanation.
“I’ve explained to them. They told me they don’t believe the media (reports),” Mahlonoko disclosed.
He said his focus was now cementing his place at the GladAfrica Championship side and helping The Romans move up the table upon the resumption of the season in February.
Mahlonoko is on season-long loan stint at Pretoria-based Callies, who are precariously placed on the 16th team table.
They are 13th, with as many matches left to play.
“The season has been okay; not best but there’s always a room for improvement,” Mahlonoko said.
With 16 points, Callies are three points ahead of bottom-placed Jomo Cosmos and 16 behind joint leaders, Richards Bay and JDR Stars.
“With 13 games to go, we still have a good chance to be in the top half come the end of the season,” the former Pirates star said in the interview.
Mahlonoko’s career has not hit the lofty heights anticipated since he debuted for the Buccaneers aged 16 years in a one-all draw against the now-defunct Highlands Park in 2018.
He played in a further two games.
The Sebokeng-born player joined Baroka for the 2020/21 season but played a cameo role, leading to the loan move to Callies to gain some game time.
“I would like to assure fans that I’m not taking any break; not anytime soon. No matter how hard things may be, I’m never giving up,” he concluded.
– CAJ News