Over the past few weeks, Royal AM’s Chairman Andile Mpisane, who also happens to be part of the club’s playing squad, has been grabbing a lot of attention on social media.
At the start of the season when Royal AM (the AM stands for Andile Mpisane) completed their takeover of the former Real Kings franchise, Mpisane, who is the son of the owner Shawn Mpisane, became the youngest chairman in the Premier Soccer League. He turns 20 next month.
Shawn Mpisane was of course the former owner of Royal Eagles, alongside her then husband Sbu. But when the two separated, there was a legal wrangle over who had control of the club. It was eventually ruled in Sbu’s favour, and he took control of Eagles, and Shawn moved her interests to Kings.
Eagles were relegated from the GladAfrica Championship last season, while this season Royal AM are challenging at the top of the league.
Enter the young Mpisane. The chairman-cum-player has actually been around for a few seasons.
A former Eagles coach once told me that when he was at the club, he would often have to wait for the arrival of the then-schoolboy before he could begin training. Andile would finish school, and then arrive at training in a helicopter.
While Eagles were a second tier team, the Mpisane money meant they had a really good set up, and the club had built a village with facilities for training and housing the players. It is why over the years the club attracted many big name players.
Andile, who is also a rising musician, was always a part of the club. He began training with the team as a schoolboy. and actually made his debut way back in 2018, in a 4-0 win over Witbank Spurs, coming on in stoppage time.
However last year it seems his music ambitions took centre stage, as he released two singles, under the Royal AM label. It was reported that a music video he made for one of the songs costs over R1 million.
He also founded a ‘Luxury & Grooming Pampering Lounge’ under the Royal AM banner, amongst other ventures.
This season he returned to football and has been coming off the bench for Royal AM, and his showboating antics have grabbed attention.
His chairmanship and playing role have drawn comparisons on social media to the legendary Jomo Sono, who of course was a player and owner at Jomo Cosmos in his hey-day.
But of course, the big difference is that playing football is what made Sono successful.
Royal AM are currently fourth on the GladAfrica table, one place ahead of Cosmos. They are 1 point behind log leaders Richards Bay.