“Orlando Stadium is our home, it’s part of Kaizer Chiefs’ rich history and it holds so many great memories,” comments Vusi ‘Computer’ Lamola about Amakhosi playing our remaining home games this season at Orlando Stadium.
Lamola was a brilliant creative midfielder, who played for Chiefs in the seventies.
“Orlando Stadium is like Wimbledon in England,” he continues, “every tennis player wants to play at Wimbledon, because of its fabulous history. The same is true for Orlando Stadium when it comes to football. Let’s not forget that we, as Kaizer Chiefs, gained our enormous popularity during the time that this stadium was our home.”
Chiefs’ first ever league title was won at Orlando Stadium in 1974, when they beat Orlando Pirates 3-0 in the final match of the season. The Glamour Boys went on to win more league titles in 1977, 1979 and 1981 with Orlando stadium as our home. On top of that, Amakhosi raised an avalanche of cup trophies at Orlando Stadium over the years.
Kaizer Chiefs are celebrating their 50th anniversary during this year as the club was founded on 7 January 1970.
Chiefs, Pirates and Moroka Swallows also shared Orlando Stadium as their home ground in the seventies.
These days, the stadium is Orlando Pirates’ home ground, but during a draw by the PSL earlier this week to select a home ground for all teams during the remainder of the season, Chiefs drew Orlando Stadium (clubs are not allowed to play at their home stadium).
Amakhosi will resume the Absa Premiership matches on Wednesday, 12 August when they host Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium. Kick-off is at 18:00.
Lamola’s best memory of playing at Orlando Stadium was a Soweto Derby, beating Orlando Pirates 7-3 in a cup game at Orlando Stadium on 12 February 1972. It remains the club’s biggest win over their arch-rivals.
Amakhosi were 2-0 down at half-time. Lamola was left on the bench by coach Thomas ‘Zero’ Johnson and was not amused. Ntsoelengoe had to leave the pitch in the second half due to a knee injury, with Lamola replacing him.
In no time it was 2-2, taking the game into extra time and with the final score 7-3 for Chiefs. Lamola was involved in creating all seven goals. “That game changed my life as a player,” the former midfielder reflects.
“To revisit Orlando Stadium now in our 50th anniversary year, is special for a club like Chiefs with such a very rich history.”
Nick Sikwane was a formidable left-back for Chiefs from 1977 until 1987. He fully agrees with Lamola’s sentiments. “We have such a great history at Orlando Stadium. We were basically unbeatable on this ground.”
In 1982, Ellis Park was allowed to host soccer matches and Chiefs played their first home match at the stadium on 23 October 1982, beating Orlando Pirates 2-0.
Amakhosi played most of their home games at Ellis Park in the 1993 season, although they would occasionally still host some matches at Orlando Stadium. However, from the following 1994 season onwards, Ellis Park became Chiefs’ new home for a couple of years.
“We would even train at Ellis Park,” remembers Sikwane, “twice a day.”
The former left-back, who used to make spirited runs forward, is not worried that there will be no supporters in the stadium, due to the Covid-19 epidemic and social distancing.
“Of course, to have our supporters there would have been magnificent,” Sikwane explains, “as they are such a force behind Kaizer Chiefs. The players, however, will just have to get used to having no fans in the stands. That might feel a bit odd at the beginning, but they will quickly get used to it.”