The History of South African Football - Part 5

Memba Ben By Memba Ben, 9th Jul 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Football (Soccer)

Part 5 of a series exploring how South African football came to its current state. In this part, we look at how Pirates expulsion from the NPSL led to the rise of the Phefeni Glamour Boys, Kaizer Chiefs.

Love and Peace in trying times.

FIFAs insistence to allow FASA to stay within its body affected South African football negatively.

While the SASF might’ve received the short end of the stick, FASA didn’t exactly come out of the debacle looking good.

They had been expelled from CAF for their unwillingness to field a mixed race team in the upcoming African Cup of Nations when they had again come under fire in 1969 for cancelling a much anticipated match between Highlands Park (an all-white team) and Orlando Pirates and although talks of an interracial match had been held in 1962, it seemed as though FASA weren’t genuinely interested in actually making it happen.

With FIFA unhappy, FASA then seemingly tried to make amends, proposing to send an all-white team to the 1966 World Cup held in England and then afterwards send an all-black side to the 1970 finals in Mexico but FIFA weren't having any of it.

On the other side of South African football, things were trudging along. The SASF might’ve not had the resources of the FASA but they tried to make the best of their situation. Players who got offered the opportunity went abroad and at the end of their stint, returned to fans that held lofty expectations. One of these players happened to be Kaizer "Chincha Guluva" Motaung who plied his trade with the Atlanta Chiefs. However, instead of hitting the field, Mr. Motaung went on to create a more lasting impact on South African football by forming one of the country’s most successful clubs in the Phefeni Glamour Boys, Kaizer Chiefs.

From the Kaizer Chiefs website:

Born on 16 October 1944 in Orlando East, Kaizer Motaung’s remarkable career began in 1960 when his exceptional natural talent earned him a senior debut for Orlando Pirates at the tender age of 16. Throughout the 1960s, the inside-left’s spellbinding ball control, vision and clinical finishing justified his hero status among Buccaneers fans, who bestowed upon him the moniker, Chincha Guluva, the man with the quick feet. His exploits began to attract attention from further afield and in 1968, he departed for the USA to play for Atlanta Chiefs in the North American Soccer League (NASL) after being recruited by former West Ham United player, Phil Woosnam, who was by coaching the American side.

Meanwhile, back in Mzansi, things weren’t going so well at Motaung’s former club Orlando Pirates, where internal disagreements saw team manager Ewert Nene and three players, Thomas ‘Zero’Johnson, Ratha Mogoathleng, Edward ‘Msomi’ Khoza expelled. At the conclusion of the 1969 NASL season, Motaung returned home to try and resolve the impasse but sadly his best efforts proved unsuccessful. As a result of these circumstances, it was decided an alternative was needed and in late 1969, the Kaizer XI was formed.

The Kaizer XI arranged and played numerous friendlies, fielding a fantastic team with players such as the acrobatic goalkeeper Vincent ‘Tantie’ Julius, the tough-as-nails Jackie Masike, the speedy Herman ‘Pelé’ Blaschke, midfield genius Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe and the three expelled Pirates players, whose skills and flair soon began to draw ever-growing crowds of spectators to watch them perform.

The positive response from the supporters gave Motaung cause to consider setting up his own club. Drawing on the lessons he learnt from his experience in the United States, he resolved to establish a professionally run club where, above all, players would be paid what they were promised, on time. That might sound normal these days, but back then most South African club bosses routinely failed to deliver on their promises. Not Kaizer, his word is his word, and on 7 January 1970, Kaizer Chiefs FC was born.

Back then, Orlando Pirates were arguably the top team in the NPSL (which was the professional league where black teams were allowed to play) but a ruling from the FASA forced teams within the NPSL to deregister Coloured and Indian players from their sides or they wouldn’t be allowed to compete. When Orlando Pirates refused, they were expelled from the league leaving a void that Kaizer Chiefs filled and this allowed them to grow into one of the biggest clubs in the league, winning their first league title in 1974, the BP Top Eight in 1973 and 1974, the Champion of Champions Cup in 1972 and 1974 and the Life Challenge Cup in 1971 and 1972.

If you happened to miss previous installments of the series:

Sources include:


History, Soccer, South Africa

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author avatar Memba Ben
A fan's view on the business of football.

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