2001 Treble Memories with Gary Goldstone

Gary Goldstone has revealed details of the “most intense three weeks” of his football career, which saw him recover from malaria to help Kaizer Chiefs claim CAF African Cup Winners Cup glory in 2001.

The former Amakhosi defender played 62 games over three seasons for the Club after signing in 1999, the most significant of them the 28 games he played in the 2001/2002 season in which Chiefs won a historic first CAF continental title, as well as the BP Top 8 and Coca Cola Cup in a memorable Treble-winning season.

Twenty years on from that massive Club achievement, Goldstone shared his ‘Treble Memories’ with www.kaizerchiefs.com and told of how he emerged from his hospital bed to line up for Chiefs in the second leg of the CAF African Cup Winners Cup final against Angola’s Interclube Luanda.

“We had three cup finals in three weeks essentially and it was the most intense three weeks of my football career. We played the first leg of the Cup Winners Cup in Luanda and while we didn’t know much about the opposition going into that final it didn’t stop coach Muhsin Ertugral from motivating us and making us believe in ourselves as individuals and as a team. We came back from Luanda with a draw, which was a fantastic result away from home,” says Goldstone.

After the highs of a positive result in Angola, Goldstone was brought crashing down on the team’s return home.

“After the first leg I picked up a strain of malaria. The next week I didn’t train. I was in hospital and missed out on the Coca Cola Cup final. The following week I started training slowly and I played in the second leg of the African Cup Winners Cup final. It was a challenging three weeks, the most intense of my career. It was not easy, but the motivation was there, knowing what we were going to achieve with the club – and for the club. That was our driving force. We wanted to bring those Cups back to the Chiefs Village,” Goldstone added.

Chiefs drew the first leg of the CAF final 1-1 in Luanda on 17 November 2001, Luke Jukulile’s first half goal ensuring Amakhosi returned from Angola with the ascendancy. They then thrashed Jomo Cosmos 5-0 the following week in the Coca Cola Cup final, before the second leg of the CAF Cup Winners Cup final on 1 December 2001.

A famous Patrick Mabedi penalty in the second leg of the CAF final at Ellis Park gave Chiefs a 2-1 aggregate victory as they won the tournament, known as the Mandela Cup in honour of the iconic former South African President.

“We had young players in that Chiefs squad in 1989. Players like Isaac Mabotsa, Jabu Pule, Siyabonga Nomvethe and myself, and we also had experienced leaders like Patrick Mabedi, Brian Baloyi in goal and Cyril Nzama, established international players that you’re competing with – and playing with – as young Chiefs players at the time. In midfield we had Doctor (Khumalo) and Thabo Mooki and in each position, we knew we had exceptional players who could do their jobs well. Doc was our general. When the team was down, we always looked to Doc to turn it around, because of his capability as a footballer. For that CAF final we didn’t need anyone to motivate us. We knew the magnitude of that cup final and where it could take us and take the club. We had a fantastic team dynamic,” says Goldstone.

The defender who hails from Wentworth in Durban says the CAF win was undoubtedly his career highlight, allowing him to be part of a Chiefs generation for whom “conquering Africa was something that had not been achieved”.

He paid tribute to current Football Manager Bobby Motaung for managing the logistics of a difficult trip to Luanda, and also heaped praise on coach Muhsin Ertugral, who kept the team grounded and who “was not just a coach, he was a mentor, a father figure”.

Now, his short but successful time at Chiefs is one he proudly shares with his son and his framed jersey from the 2001 CAF final takes pride of place in his mom’s Durban home.

“I can’t believe it was 20 years ago. I’m 45 now and I think back and share those memories with my son. It’s really an achievement, it’s something great. I’m honoured, I’m blessed, I’m fortunate to have been part of that Chiefs team during that era. It is no ordinary football, it’s an institution, a massive football brand,” says Goldstone.

Signed as a teenager after impressing for his amateur club Cherians in a curtain-raiser against Zulu Royals, ahead of Neil Tovey’s benefit match between Chiefs and AmaZulu at Kings Park Stadium, his journey to Chiefs was “unplanned, a surprise, very quick”.

Goldstone’s Chiefs career was also all too brief, but it didn’t stop him from writing his own footnote in Amakhosi history as a member of the classy Class of 2001.