The 9th of May 2020 would have seen the Absa Premiership trophy for the current 2019-20 season handed over to the league winners if it were not for the current Covid-19 lockdown that has seen the domestic football be suspended indefinitely. Amakhosi are at the top of the log and were hot favourites to lift the trophy given that the team has been at the top of the table from early in the season.
It has been 5 years since the Phefeni Glamour Boys last lifted the league trophy. Ironically, it happened on 9 May 2015, when Tefu Mashamaite had just featured in his 40th game of all competitions for the 2014-15 season. The player had played in what was his 30th league game for Kaizer Chiefs that season.
Amakhosi defeated Chippa United in their final Absa Premiership game of the 2014-15 season, as Mashamaite took to the podium at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to hoist into the air the Absa Premiership trophy. The Amakhosi captain and his teammates celebrated with a capacity crowd in the Eastern Cape after a phenomenal season.
Five years on, the clinical defender reflected on Chiefs’ 13th league title in 2014-15 and explained that the desire to be successful that season began at the end of the 2013-14 season. “It was a heartbreaker losing the title the way we did in 2013-14 to Sundowns” remembers Mashamaite. “Sundowns just surfaced out of nowhere, when we had a huge lead at one stage.
“It was in February 2014 that we started playing in the CAF Champions League. All the travelling and the games kind of derailed us. At the start of the 2014-15 season we said that we had to regain our integrity and we did in style.”
Mashamaite believes the team despite facing adversity at the start of the 2014-15 season, they galvanized and began in the best possible way winning the MTN8 as well as going through their opening 19 league games of the campaign without a loss.
“We started the season with Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker. We had other guys like Mandla Masango and George Lebese coming through along with Reneilwe Letsholonyane. We played some great attacking football,” says the former Chiefs defender.
He also has a lot of praise for his teammates and the quality that ran through the Chiefs team at the time as well as then Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter and his technical team.
“We had great players in our squad. Like I said, we put the previous season behind us and to have someone like Stuart Baxter who was a great man manager helped us. He pushed us and constantly reminded us how good we were as players. This helped put us back to the confidence level that we needed to be at, which ultimately led to us reclaiming the glory,” he says.
On a personal level the 2014-15 season turned out to be a wonderful one for Mashamaite as he ended up being the Absa Premiership players’ player of the season, defender of the season and Player of the season. In a campaign that saw him stay on the field for all 2700 minutes that Chiefs were on the field that campaign, for him personally the impetus came from captaining Chiefs to and winning the 2014 MTN 8 tournament with him scoring the only goal in the final a 1-0 win for Chiefs over Pirates.
“I got the captains armband for the first time that season for the final against Pirates, such gestures go a long way to instilling confidence in the player’s mindset. So, scoring in one of the classic games which was also a final really lifted my spirits and gave me the confidence to have a good season,” adds Mashamaite
Continuing in his reflective mood Mashamaite believes there were key games in the season which gave Chiefs the impetus to push for the title which in the end saw Amakhosi win the league with 12 points ahead of second placed Sundowns.
“A game against Platinum Stars later in the season on the 27th August, was a confidence booster at the right time,” he says. We used to struggle against them. It was a vital away win against a team who always proved tough to beat.
“Going to Wits and winning 3-0 on the 3 December 2014 was also important. Defeating Pirates in a league game also in December was key because Derbies are a major confidence booster. Defeating them earlier in the MTN 8 final and in the league game was big for us. I remember George Lebese’s assist for our second goal when he turned Rooi Mahamutsa. Importantly winning our first game of the season away against Free State Stars in difficult conditions showed how strong-willed we were. Those were the markers of our intentions in the season.”
Making it on to the podium to receive his season league winners medal at the end of season was a huge achievement for Mashamaite who got to fulfill a life-long ambition. “It was a dream come true come coming from rural Bochum Village in Limpopo and having a dream to play professional football I did not really see myself playing for Chiefs or being captain and lifting trophy. It was a major achievement to realise all three, and it was the greatest moment of my life lifting the trophy at the Nelson Mandela bay stadium.”
With only 8 games to go before the end of the season, Amakhosi are currently on 48 points with their closest rivals on 44 points.
Tefu Mashamaite Facts with Chiefs
- Joined Chiefs from Bidvest Wits ahead of the 2011-12 season.
- Debut for Chiefs in a 2-0 league win away from home on 17th August 2011 against Moroka Swallows.
- Appearances for Chiefs: 132.
- Goals for Chiefs: 12.
- Played 100 league games for Chiefs starting and finishing 97.
- Was only ever brought on as a substitute in 2 league games and only ever substituted once in a league game.
- Featured in 44 games in all competitions for Chiefs in 2013-14 and 40 games in all competitions in 2014-15.
- Played in all 30 of Chiefs league games in the 2014-15 season starting and finishing all.
- Featured in 60 successive league games for Chiefs from the start of the 2013-14 season to the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
- 2012-13 League Winner.
- 2012-13 Nedbank Cup Winner.
- 2014-15 MTN 8 Winner.
- 2014-15 League Winner.
- PSL Player of the Season 2014-15.
- PSL Players Player of the Season 2014-15.
- PSL defender of the Season 2014-15.