As we bid farewell to 2021, we close the page on another challenging year for all of humanity and reflect on the travails of the past 12 months to draw wisdom that we may take forward into the future.
This year, like 2020, was fraught with disruptions as society battled to come to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, and football was no exception. While scientists and doctors continue to work around the clock in an effort to curtail the spread of virus, new ways of working – in football and business in general – have been needed to adapt to the situation.
Many aspects of football that we took for granted in pre-Covid times have been radically affected. As waves of infections increased and subsided so borders were closed and reopened, frequently at very short notice, leading to tremendous logistical difficulties in fulfilling fixtures, particularly on the continent. Similarly, spikes in infections among personnel have left playing squads decimated and Clubs unable to field teams for scheduled matches, a fate that befell our own staff only a few weeks ago.
Additionally, adhering to the guidelines recommended to reduce the transmission rate of the virus has meant we have not seen many of our partners and sponsors, nor our supporters, for some time. Much of our business dealings and public engagement were conducted on virtual platforms in an effort to try and minimize physical contact.
We do, however, appreciate the efforts made by the government, health workers and South Africans in general who have worked hard to limit the adversity.
Kaizer Chiefs in 2021
The year brought with its highs and lows for the Mighty Amakhosi. However, throughout the unprecedented uncertainty that engulfed the world, the Club continued to face the circumstances with the never-say-die attitude that is the hallmark of Kaizer Chiefs Football Club.
- Reaching the final of the 2021 CAF Champions League will be written in bold letters in the history books of Kaizer Chiefs. The players really made us proud, overcoming incredible odds to come within a whisker of being crowned continental champions.We faced numerous serious challenges along the way: from a game scheduled to take place in Morocco which CAF relocated to Burkina Faso, to travel restrictions in Angola. During the course of the competition, we witnessed how Covid-19 was used as a weapon by some organisations in an attempt to win matches. Yet we soldiered on, motivated by the undying support of our loyal fans, to whom we express extreme gratitude for their solidarity during this time. We also want to thank SAFA for their invaluable assistance during our CAF journey.
The effort proved undoubtably worthwhile as some of our young players showed that they were ready to take on, and beat, the best after being tested under pressure against some of the giants of African football. The experience can only be good for the country and the national team.
It is important to acknowledge the important role played by coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard who held the fort during that crucial time that saw us get into the Top 8 and reach the CAF Champions League final. The duo has been key for Kaizer Chiefs when called upon to assist and have done a stellar job.
- The ruling that prohibited us from signing new players for two transfer windows, left the squad fighting on various domestic and continental fronts really stretched us to the limit as matches came thick and fast with little recovery time. We still believe we could have done better locally but all things considered, the determined spirit that drove us to claw our way into the Top 8 on the last day of the season is commendable.
- In keeping with the changing times and the constant development of the game, we introduced some new roles within our football management structure. We announced Kaizer Motaung Jr. as the Club’s Sporting Director, a role that involves defining the future of how we want our football to be played. We also brought experienced educator and tactician, Molefi Ntseki to Kaizer Chiefs to take up the position of Head of Technical and Youth Development. The former Chiefs striker and the erstwhile Bafana Bafana head coach will work in conjunction to define and implement the Club’s footballing philosophy, and we believe these two roles will dovetail nicely between our players and coaches in the Youth Academy and Senior team.
- Playing for a full year without our beloved supporters has not been the same. We miss them terribly. Such is the inspirational influence of the Amakhosi family that the players have had to adjust to the absence of the “12th player” in the stands. We continue to appreciate all the messages sent directly to the Club, via social media and through call-ins on various radio stations and television programmes. We feel the love and our players are also listening. We can’t wait to be reunited with you.
- When the two-window transfer ban expired, we moved swiftly to strengthen the squad by bringing nine new players into the squad to help us reclaim our rightful position domestically and return to continental football. We also welcomed coach Stuart Baxter back into the Kaizer Chiefs fold.
As an ambitious and innovative brand, Kaizer Chiefs will always strive to keep abreast of global trends and align ourselves with the latest developments in the world game in order to uphold the standards of excellence that have come to define this Club since 1970.
KC Youth Development Academy
It is important to recognise the sterling work done by the coaches and administrators in our youth development structures this year in the Gauteng Development League (GDL).
We are satisfied that Kaizer Chiefs finished the year as overall winners of the SAFA-run league after all the points were tallied. Our Under-13, 15, 17 and 19 teams did exceptionally well as they all qualified for the semi-finals of the league out of 16 teams in each division after they each finished in the top three.
To top it all, our Under-13s were crowned gold medalists as they won their all semi-final games.
We would like to see more of this work continue in 2022 as we build a strong foundation for the future.
We Remember Those Who Departed
Undoubtedly, the most distressing aspects of the pandemic has been the loss of life and the inability to mourn the departed in the traditional appropriate fashion.
With many people succumbing to Covid-19 in 2020, we sadly lost even more people to the disease this past year.
Here at home, barely two days into 2021, we received the bitter news that possibly the Club’s greatest captain, Johannes ‘Ryder’ Mofokeng passed away. An indisputable Chiefs legend, Ryder joined the Club in 1972 as a youngster and went on to lead the team from 1975 until 1986, during the most sustained period of success in our history.
Later, he served as a coach, assistant coach, scout and was an administrator in our Youth Development Academy at the time of his passing.
His immeasurable contribution to Kaizer Chiefs forms part of the very foundations of what this Club has come to represent.
In May, we were hit by the news of the passing of another legend of the Club from the class of the 1970s as one of the best left-backs Gerald ‘Umgababa’ Dlamini passed away. He was 79 years old. We will continue to tell the story of his great contribution to this institution for years to come. Lala Ngoxolo Sibalikhulu.
We were also faced with a life taken young when former Kaizer Chiefs player Lucky Maselele left us in October. His loss is mourned by the Kaizer Chiefs family; we share in the pain with his family.
One of our former Directors Sajeed Sacranie also lost his life this year. We thank him for his contribution to Kaizer Chiefs during his time with us. He worked on key commercial areas of the Club and we will miss his contribution.
South African football also lost one of its foremost administrators, Godfrey Gxowa of Swallows, a highly respected man who played a pivotal role in the development of our football over the years.
As if that was not enough, 2021 claimed the life of our beloved Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the man who came to represent the embodiment of the highest ideals of humanity: Love & Peace. His immense contribution to the whole world, but specifically to South Africa, can never be overstated and are too numerous to mention here, safe to say we loved him as much as he loved us. We will miss his leadership and incredible sense of humour. May he rest in peace.
Sponsors and Partners
Our partners are what keep us going. We cherish the mutually beneficial relationship we enjoy and hope to see each other face-to-face more often in 2022.
A word of gratitude to Vodacom, SuperSport, Nike, Medshield, Toyota, SMSA and Carling Black Label for the splendid work done in 2021. Let’s do better in 2022 and connect even more with supporters.
We are hopeful that a solution will be found soon, and we can go back to connecting directly with our supporters and strengthening the bonds of our relationships.
As we always say, our Supporters have always been our pillar of strength. Your absence has been felt in all areas of the Club. We miss the sights and sounds of thousands of you singing in the stadiums, the visits to the Village, the gathering of hundreds of vehicles at our headquarters ahead of the Soweto Derby to name a few. The Kaizer Chiefs family, comprised of young, old, male, female, LGBTQ+, all races and creeds is a shining example to the world of unity in diversity through a shared love of football and Amakhosi.
We hope it won’t be too long before greater numbers are allowed to attend matches again. We are excitedly looking forward to travelling to Polokwane, Durban, Cape Town, Nelspruit, knowing the stadium will be painted Gold & Black.
For now, we maintain engagement with our loyal fanbase on social media via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and our website.
Kaizer Chiefs Personnel
The Kaizer Chiefs personnel at every level from players, coaches, administration, marketing and retail to maintenance, security and cleaning have excelled in their dedication to the Club in very trying circumstances throughout 2021. We thank each and every one of our colleagues and implore you to keep up your amazing efforts to bring joy to the millions of supporters who are emotionally invested in Kaizer Chiefs.
Thank you for your passion, enthusiasm and commitment in 2021. Together, let’s all aim to take it a step further in 2022.
Board of Directors
A word of gratitude goes to the members of the board of directors, whose work and contribution is appreciated by all at Kaizer Chiefs.
We wish them and their families all of the best in 2022.
Premier Soccer League
The PSL continues to be one of the best leagues on the continent because of how professionally it is run. We continue to be proud of the work done by all involved.
Our recent experience that saw us not allowed to postpone matches after the Covid-19 attack has still left us dumbfounded. This has also brought a lot of attention on the running of the league and we have to ensure that we do not let this situation tarnish the good image of the organisation.
We do hope sanity and rationality will prevail at the end of the day and the PSL continues to be an example to many leagues in the world. We also need to learn from the examples of other top leagues in the world.
May all our colleagues enjoy the rest and work even harder in 2022.
The Pandemic and a Better 2022
The global pandemic that arrived in South Africa in March 2020 is unfortunately still here with us. By now, everybody is aware of how deadly Covid-19 can be and nobody wants any further fatalities.
As South Africa is now in the fourth wave of the virus, Kaizer Chiefs urges everyone to continue exercising caution by following all the prescribed protocols. For your own and others’ safety, please avoid super spreader events, sanitize frequently, wear masks and practice social distancing.
The more we do what is right, the sooner we can help eradicate the danger.
We have seen some encouraging scientific developments in counteracting the virus and we do hope it won’t be long until things improve to the point that we are allowed back into stadiums in large numbers without spreading the virus.
Let’s do better for ourselves in 2022. Let’s eat healthily, exercise and minimize the intake of substances that our bodies don’t need.
Let’s spend more time with loved ones and friends.
May the good Lord protect each and every one of us and may the year 2022 be a better year for all of us: the family of Amakhosi.
We look forward to a prosperous year filled with more great opportunities.
Amakhosi 4 Life!