Kaizer Motaung, chairman of the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club at his offices at Naturena. File Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI/SUNDAY TIMES
Kaizer Motaung, chairman of the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club at his offices at Naturena. File Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI/SUNDAY TIMES

The establishment of Kaizer Chiefs on business principles set the club apart in SA football and laid the foundation for the Motaung dynasty that continued through to Amakhosi turning 50 in January, says club chair Kaizer Motaung.

Other clubs in Africa and SA might be older than Chiefs‚ but few have survived under the ownership of the founder for half a century.

Motaung said when he took the decision to form Chiefs in January 1970‚ there was much scepticism that such an initiative could be sustained.

He said he insisted on the club being founded on business principles — a path-finding measure at the time‚ as Amakhosi put in place structures and paid players on time — like he had seen playing for the Atlanta Chiefs in the US’s North American Soccer League (NASL).

“When we started the club I made it a point with those founding fathers to say: ‘If we are going to embark on starting a club‚ it has to be based on business principles‚ which means there have to be clear‚ proper guidelines in terms of how we administer the club’‚” he said.

“So it is out of that idea that we thought we needed to put something solid. A lot of people said it would not last.

“So I said: ‘I’m prepared to put my neck on it as long as we can  put good structures behind this whole set-up’.

“It was based on the fact that we wanted to start something very professional. Because those days the professionalism of football was not at this level.

“I said I wanted to make sure that we run it very professionally‚ like the experience I got when I went to play in the US.

“So we had to make sure we put in a very strong foundation‚ and ensure there was proper management of the business and of the players and the game itself‚ to be run on a very professional set-up.”

Chiefs may not win trophies as freely as they did in the 1970s‚ 1980s and early 1990s, but they remain trendsetters. Their world-class village in Naturena is streets ahead of anything owned by their competitors‚ and their brand remains the most successful and recognisable in SA sport.

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