The talented youngster was born in Taung in North West. When still young, his mother went to Johannesburg with Shopane following at the age of eight.
A few years later, he joined Killarney Motswako FC in Soweto, where the skilful winger came to the attention of the Kaizer Chiefs scouts, joining the club in 2014.
“I had to come to Chiefs’ training ground for an assessment,” Shopane remembers. Arthur Zwane was the main assessor. He passed with flying colours.
Amakhosi’s former winger went on to become Shopane’s coach after the youngster joined the Under-17 side.
“Arthur Zwane was always my role model, as, just like me, he used to play on the wing. He was so skilful, I loved to watch him play and learn from it. And now he is my coach.”
Shopane already joined Chiefs’ MDC squad last year. It was coached by Ace Khuse. “Coach Ace and Coach Arthur have the same style of training.”
Another big hero of the speedy youngster is Brazilian right-back Dani Alves, who used to shine for Barcelona and is now with Juventus. It’s obvious, the young Glamour Boy wants to learn by watching the best.
Shopane had a great 2016/2017 MDC season, scoring four goals in nine matches. His performances caught the eyes of Amajita coach Thabo Senong.
There was also a change of position for the youngster, as Chiefs’ reserve team coach Zwane moved him from the wing to that of striker. “Coach Arthur has helped me tremendously, both on the field, with my positioning, and by offering guidance off the field. He’s always there for us.”
Zwane returns the compliment: “Itumeleng has a good attitude and he respects his elders. He’s a fine athlete and he uses speed and explosiveness in one-on-one situations.”
Amajita qualified for the Under-20 World Cup thanks to reaching the semis at the recently held Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Zambia. Shopane started in some games, coming on in a few others.
“I learnt so much at the Africa Cup of Nations,” he reflects. “From the style of play to the personal egos of the players – everybody wants to play and fights for his position. Also, to represent South Africa is something special.”
It’s clear, Shopane is a determined youngster on the rise. Next up is the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea. “It will be great to see what we can do at the World Cup as a team. I am looking forward to it,” he concludes.