“It’s beautiful. It’s Gold. Kaizer Chiefs are always Gold & Black, but this is ‘real’ Gold and that goes hand-in-hand with achieving a milestone.”
Marks ‘Go-Man-Go’ Maponyane is visibly stunned when he sees Chiefs’ 50th anniversary jersey. The former prolific goalscorer was part of a group of selected Chiefs legends to wear this milestone jersey for a photoshoot.
Maponyane is a phenomenon, who was part of, what he calls, “Kaizer Chiefs’ Golden Era” – Amakhosi’s history making squad of the eighties. “We didn’t want to be second to anybody,” ‘Go-Man-Go’ explains the success during those years.
He was born in Meadowlands and in 1980, as an 18-year-old, started playing for Amakhosi’s reserve side. However, as they say, “When you are ready, age doesn’t matter.” And Maponyane was ready quick, making his official Chiefs debut at the age of 19 in a league encounter against Leicester City at Eldorado Stadium on 12 April 1981. Chiefs won 2-1 and the young striker scored on debut.
The Glamour Boys were brilliant between 1981 and 1984, winning two league titles and numerous cups.
Chiefs won the Grand Slam 1984, winning the league as well as the JPS Knockout, Champion of Champions and the Mainstay Cup. That’s the year that Maponyane won the South African Sports Hero of the Year award. To add to this, the striker won the Footballer of the Year award in 1983 and 1987.
The striker was the scorer of the first hat-trick in a cup final in the 1987 season, scoring all three goals against PG Rangers to win the BP Top 8.
Maponyane was handed the armband by Ted Dumitru in 1986, taking over from Chiefs’ longest-serving captain, Ryder Mofokeng. The striker led the team for a few seasons, before Howard ‘The Rock’ Freese took over the armband in 1989.
The striker left Chiefs in 1991 to join Dynamos and had a further stint at Orlando Pirates, before retiring while playing at Wits University in 1998.
He has since become well-respected as a soccer analyst for the SABC broadcaster and he has also become a gifted motivational speaker.
Reflecting on Chiefs’ success over the last 50 years since its formation on 7 January 1970, Maponyane says: “It shows that dreams are possible. Kaizer Motaung had a dream and he made that a reality. The lesson is that it’s important not only to have dreams, but to go out and get it done. The achievements of Kaizer Chiefs are unsurpassed.”