We have asked five former Kaizer Chiefs players from five different decennia, starting with the foundation of the club on 7 January 1970 to now, to talk about their relationship with Chairman Kaizer Motaung for his 73rd birthday on Monday, 16 October 2017.
Marks Maponyane (1980s)
“What a gentleman,” Marks Maponyane says about Chairman Kaizer Motaung. “He’s also somebody who is prepared to listen and give honest advice when needed. Kaizer really loves his team and the beautiful game of soccer.”
Motaung was nearing the end of his soccer career in the seventies, when Maponyane was still a teenager. “I would often go with a few friends to watch Kaizer Chiefs play,” the former striker remembers. “We would walk from Meadowlands to Orlando after having saved money during the week to be able to buy a ticket.”
Maponyane played for the Glamour Boys from 1981 until 1991. “I was completely in awe when meeting Kaizer for the first time,” he admits.
He points out that “as much as Kaizer played the game at the highest level, he would never interfere with the coach’s decisions or otherwise.”
Motaung is not somebody who is quickly upset or loses his temper, always calm and collected. Maponyane, however, does remember once that the Chiefs Chairman was visibly unhappy with the team. That’s when Wits University were leading Amakhosi 3-0 at half-time at Orlando Stadium.
The Chairman walked into the dressing room and told the players: “I see you guys didn’t pitch. I will see you all on Monday – heads will roll.”
“I had never seen Kaizer like that,” reflects Maponyane, “but he was right. We were playing on cruise control. We were really bad. We regrouped and decided that we had to show the Chairman our worth in the second half.” We won 4-3. The meeting on Monday never happened.
The former striker also says that players were always paid on time, unlike most clubs during the eighties. “I never heard a player complain that he hadn’t received his salary,” Maponyane says.
“You have built Kaizer Chiefs into the best club in the country, make it even stronger,” he says, while wishing the Chairman a happy birthday, “and continue to be the gentleman you have always been. You are now becoming 73. I wish you get to at least 100.”