Kaizer Chiefs welcomed two NBA stars Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets’ Clint Capela, as well as former Arsenal and Barcelona star, Thierry Henry, to the Kaizer Chiefs Village on Saturday.
The trio were taken on a tour of the Kaizer Chiefs Village by the club’s Marketing Director, Jessica Motaung, who was joined by Kaizer Motaung Junior, Siphiwe ‘Shabba’ Tshabalala and Daniel Cardoso.
The 6ft 11in Capela and 6ft 7in Brown are in the country as part of NBA Africa’s campaign to promote basketball in Mzansi and to bring the NBA closer to local fans. Since arriving last week they have been involved in various social responsibility programmes, meeting supporters in schools and townships in Gauteng.
Capela, who was born in Switzerland to Angolan and Congolese parents, expressed how special it felt to be here: “As someone with deep African roots, it means a lot to me to come ‘home’ and promote the game of basketball. I have already witnessed enough natural talent to be convinced that there is huge potential for many more Africans to excel in the NBA.”
The giant Houston Rockets center was also highly impressed with what he saw at Naturena, remarking, “The facilities at the Chiefs Village are world class and the professional management of the club compares favourably with any sporting franchise in the world.”
Footballing legend, Thierry Henry, joined the tour because of his love for basketball. France’s all-time top goalscorer was particularly honoured to meet with Kaizer Motaung himself, and spoke at length with the Chairman about his glorious achievements at Arsenal and Barcelona, and being a part of the 1998 World Cup winning team.
“I made my debut for France against South Africa and finished off my international career against the same opponent,” Henry noted, adding, “I also know the surname Motaung, because there was a player called Sizwe Motaung in the team.
“I am glad to have met ‘Shabba’ because I still remember the goal he scored against Mexico in the 2010 World Cup, and it is cool to see that he wears jersey number 14, which is a special number to me.”
As a token of friendship, the Chairman presented the three athletes with Kaizer Chiefs jerseys to keep as lasting memories of their Amakhosi experience.
“It is great to welcome world stars to our shores and particularly to the Kaizer Chiefs Village,” said Jessica Motaung. “The guys had fun playing football on the training field and appeared to enjoy their visit as much as we enjoyed having them as our guests.”
Henry echoed the sentiment and promised to return to Kaizer Chiefs soon.
The NBA tour culminated in a massive basketball game that saw a number of superstars from the American league playing against each other in a match dubbed ‘Team Africa vs Team World’ at the Dome in Johannesburg on Saturday night.