Review of Mr Kaizer Motaung’s great football Career and Life


National Orders ceremony, 27 Apr 2013. Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung receives the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for his achievements as a committed and dedicated footballer and his outstanding contribution to the development of young football talent in the country. (Photo: GCIS)

Kaizer Motaung is a former South African soccer player and founder of the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club.

He is chairman and managing director of the Club. He is nicknamed “Chincha Guluva”.

Born in the Orlando East section of Soweto on October 16, 1944, Mr Motaung started playing soccer at a young age and when he was 16, he played professional soccer for Orlando Pirates. His position was center forward.

His club, Kaizer Chiefs is the largest and most successful Club in South Africa with a fan base of more than 16 million. It is also the most supported club in South Africa’s neighbouring countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and others.

The Kaizer Chiefs Football Club was founded in Soweto, South West of Johannesburg, on the 7th January 1970 by Kaizer Motaung, who was 26 years of age at the time. The Club headquarters is Kaizer Chiefs Village, in Naturena, six kilometres south of Johannesburg.

Since its birth, South Africa’s most glamorous professional soccer outfit has won around 140 cup titles and honors.

Abafana base-Phefeni (the Phefeni glamour boys) is one of their nicknames. The Club attracts huge crowds wherever they play, be at home or away. It has been said before that they don’t really have away matches as Chiefs turns to draw capacity crowds irrespective of where they play in South Africa.

With a revenue of $25 mil. – $50 milllion, Kaizer Chiefs employs 100-250 people. The Club falls under the Industry of Sports Teams &Leagues, Hospitality.

With Hollard Insurance, the Clubs Insurance products include the Kaizer Chiefs Funeral Plan and Kaizer Chiefs Hospital Cash Back Plan which offer the opportunity to rest assured that a family is adequately covered in time of need.

History archives also show that Motaung’s entry into international soccer occurred in 1968.

This was when Atlanta Chiefs Founder and Owner, Dick Cecil, and former West Ham United player Phil Woosnam, who was manager of the Atlanta Chiefs franchise in the then-recently formed North American Soccer League(NASL) recruited Motaung after team trials in Zambia.

And despite Motaung struggling to come to terms with the weather and overcoming injury, he made his North American debut for the Atlanta Chiefs as a substitute in a friendly game against Manchester City.

He scored two goals in that match. The South African new star continued on a high note for the rest of the season, scoring 16 goals in fifteen matches.

This made him the top scorer in the league that season. As a result of this achievement, he was voted “Rookie of the Year” and gained a place on the NASL’s All Star Team. In 1975, he returned to the NASL to play two seasons with the Denver Dynamos.

And on returning home in 1970, Motaung decided to start his own professional soccer team. He named his club “Kaizer Chiefs” after himself and his former NASL team.

Despite early setbacks and opposition, Motaung succeeded in assembling a good mix of veterans and talented rookies and the club soon became a force to be reckoned with. The Kaizer Chiefs soon had a large following.

Within a short time, the Kaizer Chiefs became the most successful team in South Africa, winning more than 78 trophies and gaining an estimated 14 million supporters throughout the country.

One of Kaizer Chiefs’ biggest achievements was winning the African Cup Winners’ Cup in 2001.

Motaung has also been very active in South African soccer administration, having served on both the National Soccer League (NSL) and South African Football Association (SAFA) executives.

In addition, Motaung co-founded (with Orlando Pirates’ Irvin Khoza) the South African Premier League (PSL) in 1996, which helped bring more sponsors and money into South African professional soccer.

Motaung currently still serves as a member of the PSL’s Board of Governors, while also still running Kaizer Chiefs and being on SAFA’s executive committee. He has also indicated that he would accept a position with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) or on world soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

Motaung was voted 73rd in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004. He also assisted South Africa’s 2010 World Cup Bid Company and was a member of the delegation that went to the FIFA head office in Zurich to be declared the winning bid. Subsequently he was also appointed as a member of the local organising committee for the 2010 event. Also in 2004, Motaung was given the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award by Henley Management College, South Africa.

Furthermore, in February 2005 it was announced that Motaung would join the board of Primedia Limited as a non-executive director. Primedia is south Africa’s largest private media holding company and owns 40% of Kaizer Chiefs. He has also served as a director on the boards of many other companies such as Royal Beechnut, Simba, New Age Beverages and Get Ahead.

Posted on the Club’s Website, Motaung reveals that had it not been encouragement from his late father Ceyland Motaung, maybe Chiefs would not have been formed. His father urged him to go ahead with plans to form the club when he was assailed by doubts.

His father, a staunch Buccaneer, had supported his son throughout his career at Pirates. But, after assembling some of the finest talent in the country, he started having doubts about whether the venture he was about to undertake would be successful or a total failure.

“It was then that my late father urged me to go ahead with the project, that I summoned enough courage to proceed with the plan,” Motaung had said.

Motaung, who had up until then been campaigning in the North American Soccer League, discovered on his return in 1969, that some of his buddies – Ratha Mokgoatleng, Msomi Khoza, Zero Johnson and the late Ewert Nene, had been expelled from Pirates.

“There was this game between Pirates against Highlands Park which was supposed to be played in Swaziland. The trio apparently did not want to play in that game and had quarrelled with the Pirates executive.

Through my contacts, I had been informed about developments while still in the States. I didn’t want to interrupt anything. I simply asked Pirates permission to use the expelled players in a tour of the country to play some friendly matches.

“I approached Mike Tseka, then Pirates chairman and expressed fears that I foresaw trouble and suggested that perhaps it would be a perfect idea if I used the expelled players to calm down the situation as it was tense in the camp.

Several people have played key roles in the formation of Kaizer Chiefs and while others were well known, there are those who toiled tirelessly but remained in the background, yet their contributions were extremely significant. It is a fact that the late Gilbert Sekgabi, Clarence Mlokoti, and China Ngema, not to forget the late Ewert “The Lip” Nene, played huge roles in terms of the formation and growth of this team.

Oom Locks (Mlokoti) was actually recruited from Pirates. One can safely say we poached him. We approached him and informed him that we had something professional planned and needed him to get it off the ground.

We also had other people like Strike Makgatho, who was at Swallows at that time. Interestingly, we attracted supporters from Pirates and Swallows. I guess supporters of both teams were looking for something new, something special, something different to identify with, and Chiefs fitted the bill perfectly.

Kaizer Chiefs was formed, I guess, at the right time. We were living through a politically repressive and violent era. For instance, if you defeated Pirates at Orlando Stadium, chances were that it would be difficult to leave the stadium unharmed.

Then along came Chiefs. Our dress code was such that it appealed to a lot of people. Maybe that is why, when we started, we had such a large number of women supporters (laughs). But seriously though, we promoted the concept of love and peace, and incorporated it into our slogan.

We emphasized through words and deeds, both on and off the field, that soccer was about comradeship, about friendship, sportsmanship. That is why it hit us so hard, when a peaceful man like Ewert Nene was killed so violently. To be honest, I was supposed to have accompanied Nene to Springs on that fateful night in 1976 to see Nelson “Teenage” Tutu, the night Nene was stabbed to death.

When we finished training, he came charging to my place and was in a hurry for us to leave as he wanted to see other friends in Kwa-Thema.

But I was still taking a bath and, he elected to go with Jan “Malombo” Lechaba, saying I was delaying them.

We were shattered to learn later, that he had been stabbed to death.

It was such a terrible blow to hear of his violent death, particularly because Springs was not known as a crime ridden, rough area. I should know, my wife comes from there.

And perhaps I must also tell our readers about Simon Shezi. Another stalwart of the team and founder member of Chiefs. Few people are aware of the role he played in the club’s formative years and how sad, that he is also no longer with us.

When we formed the team, the first meeting was held at Shezi’s home.

Shezi, known as “Makhosi” for reasons I’ll explain later, provided, voluntarily, transport for the team, largely because he owned a flee(t) of taxis.

He personally liked me and was one of the few people who kept in constant touch with me when I was playing in the States. He kept me updated about events and developments at home. He was such a humble and down-to earth fellow who used the term “Makhosi” when greeting everyone. A literal interpretation of “Makhosi” is Chiefs and naturally, it kind of gelled nicely with our slogan – AMAKHOSI.

“But of course, Tseka did not seem to understand my concept, to a point where together with the executive, they felt I had taken sides with the expelled guys. But I decided to go ahead with the plan regardless.

“In fact, a year prior to those hectic days, I had introduced ideas in terms of a holistic approach towards administration. But some people were obviously not quite happy.

“Now, a year later, I had seen how professional clubs are run abroad and suggested that we should adopt the same concept at Pirates. Nobody cared to listen. But, I got wind of the fact that if we wanted to go on with our “thing” then I could take those expelled guys.”

It is now history that Motaung, backed by the late, flamboyant Ewert Nene, China Ngema, Elijah Msibi, the late Gilbert Sekgabi, went on a recruiting drive for players to feature for the Kaizer XI. City Ramblers offered them the late Ariel “Pro” Kgongoane, who was to become a great captain but died tragically during the 1976 Student Uprisings (students in Soweto were killed by Apartheid police for marching fro freedom and a better education.

Another “Pro,” Doctor Khumalo’s father, Elkim, also joined from Swallows.

Jackie Masike and “Pro” Molope from an amateur team in Molotsane, Ingle Singh and Vincent Julius from Sundowns were also recruited, including “Ace” Ntsoelengoe and “Banks” Setlhodi after a match against a Ranfontein Invitation and “Screamer” Tshabalala.

Yet, the idea of forming a club had not yet materialized as Motaung remained loyal to Pirates and was hoping that they would sort out their internal wrangles and, hopefully he would return to play for his beloved Buccaneers.

Then came the crunch, when his time to return to the States dawned, and doubts about whether this Kaizer XI would sustain itself started creeping in, his undying love and loyalty to Pirates gnawed at his consciousness, it was all very confusing.

“That was when my father said to me: “You know what, I think you should go ahead with your plans to form this team because I’m also sick and tired of all these problems at Pirates” and his encouragement spurred me on,” said Motaung.

But as football administrators were on the verge of forming the new professional NPSL, we couldn’t be accepted because somehow, someone raised a technical issue that we were not affiliated to any association in the country.

“In fact, moves were afoot within the then Johannesburg Bantu Football Association to prevent us from affiliating to the new organisation. They wanted to stop us and others called us a “Rebel Group.”

But Matthew Mphahane, who was involved in the Nigel Football Association, advised us to affiliate to his association and encouraged us to proceed with the formation of the club as he felt it would be a good thing for local football.

Chiefs, who had by now affiliated to the Nigel Football Association and had changed their name from Kaizer XI to Kaizer Chiefs, started playing in cup and friendly matches in preparations for the start of the NPSL in 1971.

They won many tournaments and cups, and the turning point when, according to Motaung, when they played and beat both Swallows and Pirates on the same day and Kaizer Chiefs had arrived big time on local football.

Courtesy: Kaizer Chiefs Official Website

And on Freedom Day, April 27, 2013, South African President, Jacob Zuma bestowed the Order of Ikhamanga on Kaizer Motaung.

The Order of Ikhamanga recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields from arts to sports, among other sectors.

During the ceremony, the Government also recognized Mr Motaung’s role in the development of young players and playing a constructive role in the transformation of football and society.

A British indie/britpop band, Kaiser Chiefs, was named after the club because Lucas Radebe, a former Kaizer Chiefs player, captained Leeds United, a team they all support.

This entry was posted in African News, Business, South Africa News, The Reviewer. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply