As South Africa celebrates Heritage Day on Friday 24 September, Kaizer Chiefs have put together some little-known club facts to help you to get to know the Soweto giants and their history a little better.
– Kaizer Chiefs’ special affinity with KwaZulu-Natal started with the signing in 1969 of striker Alfred ‘Bomber’ Chamane, the club’s first signing from the region. Chamane netted a hat-trick in the club’s first official game against Rockville’s Hungry Lions at Orlando Stadium on 10 January 1970 in ‘the Rogue R1 000 Soccer Challenge’ knockout competition.
– Kaizer Chiefs’ first office was in Meadowlands at the home of Elijah Msibi. The club initially trained at the Meadowlands Stadium, which was then the ‘Mecca’ of football, with 2 000 to 3 000 people coming from all over to watch the team train.
– The club’s nickname ‘Amakhosi’ was given to it by Simon Shezi, at whose Soweto home the founding meeting of the club was held. Shezi translated Chiefs into isiZulu, which is Amakhosi. He also greeted people with Makhosi (Chiefs) and the name has stuck ever since.
– Kaizer Chiefs have always had a local and global outlook and early club signings included Nambia’s Hermann ‘Pele’ Blaschke, Zimbabwe’s Ebson ‘Sugar’ Muguyo and Malawi’s Jack Chamangwana, who helped popularise the club across the Southern African region and across the continent in the 1970s and 1980s.
– A highlight for Kaizer Chiefs was its signing in 1975 of the tremendously quick, skilful and powerful right winger Jairzinho, one of the stars of Brazil’s 1970 FIFA World Cup-winning side. Jairzinho agreed to a contract of a R7 000 deposit and R7 000 per match. The Brazilian arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday, 17 November 1975, and played four games for the Glamour Boys.
– Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe was not only brilliant in South Africa, he also shone for 11 seasons in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and was inducted into America’s National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003, due to his magnificent performances in the NASL at clubs such as Denver Dynamos and Minnesota Kings.
– At the start of the 2003/04 season, Kaizer Chiefs participated in the Peace Cup in South Korea, playing against France’s Olympique Lyon, Korea’s Seongman Ilhwa and Turkey’s Besiktas, as Kaizer Chiefs’ prestige continued to grow on the international stage.
– Madiba of course was a big Kaizer Chiefs fan and Kaizer Chiefs chairperson Kaizer Motaung said “Madiba would call to congratulate us after winning and he would also call when we lost. He reminded me that in sports you lose some and you win some. The Madiba magic was felt when we won the African Cup Winners’ Cup, named after him in 2001, and in 2002 Madiba opened our premises, Kaizer Chiefs Village in Naturena.”
KAIZER CHIEFS ON HERITAGE DAY
– Kaizer Chiefs’ first game on Heritage Day was on 24 September 1994, a match which they won 1-0 over QwaQwa Stars (later renamed Free State Stars). Simon Makhubela scored the only goal of the game to give Amakhosi a home win, scoring in the 79th minute.
– Kaizer Chiefs were involved in a nine-goal thriller on Heritage Day during the 1996/97 season, winning a league game 7-2 at home against Witbank Black Aces. Pollen Ndlanya became the first Amakhosi player in the PSL era to score a hat-trick in a league game, and managed to net four goals in the game.
– When playing games on Heritage Day, Kaizer Chiefs have a good record, winning nine out of 12 matches in league and cup competitions, while losing only once and drawing two games.