Captain of Kaizer Chiefs in the 1970s and 1980s Ryder Mofokeng says his generation are lovingly remembered because they built the great Soweto club from nothing.
Mofokeng was part of a golden generation that made Chiefs what it later would become as the glamour club played beautiful football‚ swept up trophies and attracted legions of fans after their formation in 1970.
He said players of that generation – Joseph “Banks” Setlhodi‚ Computer Lamola‚ Teenage Dladla‚ Ace Ntsoelengoe and many more – were remembered fondly today because they built Chiefs from nothing after owner and now chairman Kaizer Motaung led a breakaway from Orlando Pirates in 1969.
Chiefs were officially formed on January 7‚ 1970.
“People appreciate their abilities. Because they are the ones who took Kaizer Chiefs from nowhere to somewhere‚” Mofokeng said at the Chiefs anniversary celebration in Phefeni‚ Orlando West on Tuesday.
“Kaizer Chiefs was known because of their greatness. Back then‚ I didn’t see it [what Chiefs would become].
“But when he [Motaung] started with the development [Chiefs’ village] in Naturena‚ then I could see the club is growing‚ and it was going to go further.”
Speaking at the celebration, Lucky Stylianou remembers how‚ as the first white player to join Chiefs in 1978‚ he was made to feel welcome at the emerging Soweto giants.
By the time Stylianou joined in 1978, the new football phenomenon had become a trophy machine.
“It’s not so much a question of being the first white player‚ which took place in the apartheid era.
“What it means is‚ for a footballer and a South African it was an amazing time in a difficult period,” Stylianou said. “But more important than that was the welcome I received as the first white player.
“The captain [Ryder Mofokeng] took me by the hand in the traditional African way and introduced me to the players — Kaizer embraced me.
“There was not one stitch of racism throughout my time at Kaizer Chiefs. It was never mentioned in the change room‚ it was never mentioned on the training field or in the game.
“We were just a group of friends‚ who became a wonderful group of friends. There was some outstanding talent in the side. It was amazing to play with Ace [Ntsoelengoe]‚ Teenage [Dladla] and Shaka [Ngcobo].”
Chiefs have given free entrance (two each‚ first come‚ first served at Computicket) for their 7.30pm home game against Highlands Park at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.