Farewell to Senzeni Ntsibande

Jabulani Ephraim ‘Senzeni’ Ntsibande was one of the players who contributed to Kaizer Chiefs winning their historic first league title in 1974. The defender, like Ryder Mofokeng and JC Xaba, was one of the first products to come through the club’s youth development programme.

Ntsibande passed away last week, on Tuesday, 14 January 2020. He was 66 years old.

“We all share fond memories of the lanky Senzeni,” says Chiefs Chairman, Kaizer Motaung about the passing of the club’s former defender. “He could at times be quiet, but he was also full of jokes.”

Ntsibande was quick and a hard tackler. On the field of play, he was also not afraid to talk. “Senzeni was one of the few players who would sometimes dare to talk back if I shouted instructions to the defenders,” remembers goalkeeper Joseph ‘Banks’ Sethlodi.

The defender was the brother of Jeffrey ‘Tornado’ Ntsibande, a renowned striker who played for Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates. ‘Tornado’ passed away three years ago.

Ntsibande’s career didn’t last long, as he sustained a nasty knee injury in 1976. After a long recovery period, he struggled to get back to his old form so decided to hang up his boots in 1977.

The Soweto-born centre-back won a total of six trophies in three seasons with Chiefs – winning the league, the Top 8 and the Champion of Champions in 1974. He was part of another treble winning campaign in 1976, when the Glamour Boys won the Benson and Hedges Cup, the Top 8 and the Champion of Champions.

He also netted four goals for Chiefs during his brief career – his first came in a 5-2 away win in a Life Challenge semifinal against Benoni United on 29 September 1974, scoring Amakhosi’s fifth goal.

Ntsibande’s other goals saw him score in a league game on 20 October 1974 against Mangaung United in a 4-1 home win, while also netting in a 2-1 away league win for the Phefeni Boys on 8 May 1975 against Pimville United Brothers. His final Chiefs goal came in a 1976 Champion of Champions first round first leg clash against Welkom Real Hearts helping his side to a 3-0 win.

His four goals for Chiefs came in four different games, with Amakhosi winning each of the four games the tall defender found the back of the net.

After his playing days, Ntsibande pursued a career in the transport business.

Ntsibande was born in Soweto on 15 May 1953. He leaves behind his wife, Bertha Mpho, and three children, Sibongile, Sibusiso and Busisiwe.

The funeral will be held at the Chiawelo Community Centre (CCC) Mangalani Hall, Soweto, on Sunday, 26 Januuary 2020. It will start at 8:00.

May his soul rest in peace!