In the spirit of Kaizer Chiefs celebrating 50 years of existence since its formation on 7 January 1970, Kaizer Chiefs asked supporters to send some questions which they would like the chairman, Kaizer Motaung, to answer about the first 50 years of the Club.
Thousands of questions were received from supporters, but many of these questions were similar in nature. Chiefs posed 15 of the popular questions to founder, Chincha Guluva, who obliged to indulge some of the important stakeholders of the Club and the 12thplayer when were are on the pitch.
Q – When you started on 7 January 1970, did you ever think that Kaizer Chiefs would be what it is today?
Chairman: To be quite honest, I didn’t think it would happen that we are where we are after 50 years. The only thing I was confident about was that we would be successful but I never imagined it would happen in the first 50 years.
Q – Please tell us about the importance of the first ten years, 1970 – 1980.
Chairman: It was the most crucial time because no one gave us a chance. We’ve had to exert ourselves and ensure we don’t falter. We had to assemble a strong team on the field and a solid administrative team. Remember in the first 4 years, I was travelling between South Africa and Atlanta (USA) as I was still playing, so we’ve had to ensure that the team working here was strong.
Q – How did you fill up stadiums as the new kid on the block?
Chairman: When we started, we toured the country and ensured we picked at least one player from each area of the country. So we were representative of the country. Soccer was our main source of entertainment for many people and we didn’t compete with many other things during that time. Soccer was very entertaining and it was played differently, so it was more about entertainment and not so much tactics as it is today.
Q – What is your best memory ever in the last 50 years?
Chairman: We’ve had many good memories over the many years and it would be difficult for me to single out one.
Q – Who is the best signee ever in your opinion?
Chairman: It has to be the late Ace Ntsoelengoe. He was a special player.
Q – If you were to pick one former player and put him in the current squad, who would you go for?
Chairman: There are many players I can think of, depending on the position. I am saying this because we’ve had many great players in different positions, goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and strikers. So there’s isn’t one specific player. I’d have to look at areas that need to be bolstered and give a name for each.
Q – Your best 11 of the last 50 years?
Chairman: It’s another difficult one because football has evolved and different players played during different eras. For example, some of the things done by Cristiano Ronaldo now, some of the players we’ve had used to do the same stuff he’s doing. The game has changed because of the modern technologies and training methods. So no other player from the past should be compared with today’s player because everything is different.
Q – Your best goalkeeper of all time?
Chairman: I can’t single out one but there are few who are unforgettable. I can think of Banks Setlhodi, Brian Baloyi, Itumeleng Khune right now and Peta Bala’c, who has never missed a game because of injury as far as I can remember. It’s difficult to pick one.
Q –Please ask him to accept the honorary degrees you’ve turned down.
Chairman: I’ve turned many invitations for honorary degrees down the years. Therefore, it would be difficult to accept one now from one institution when I’ve said no to many. But I’ll think about it.
Q – Why is it difficult for local coaches to handle Kaizer Chiefs?
Chairman: it’s not only at Kaizer Chiefs but all the teams in the league. it’s not really difficult but it’s about knowledge. Some of our local coaches need work harder in terms of acquiring knowledge. We’ve seen the work coaches such as Pitso Mosimane and Gavin Hunt have done to improve themselves. We need more of that sort of commitment from all our local coaches.
Q – If Ewert Nene was alive today as the Club is 50, what would be his reaction?
Chairman: I’m guessing, but knowing the late Ewert Nene, he would be very, very upbeat. Because he was always full of ideas, he would be beaming and throwing all sorts of ideas on how to celebrate and what must be done because he was a man of many ideas. I think he would be making the biggest noise and telling everyone about where we come from. He would also be telling everyone about the next 20 years.
Q – Reflecting on the 50 years, your advice to aspiring team owners?
Chairman: It depends on one’s ambition and plans. It’s a huge responsibility. It’s not about having the money and buying a club. It’s about having an ambition and a plan. You need to have priorities and a solid plan.
Q – Who would you regards as the best captain ever?
Chairman: These are tricky questions. There’s been many, including our first captain Ariel Kgongoane.
Q – When are you writing a book?
Chairman: If I retire tomorrow, maybe I’ll start writing.
Q – What is your advice to the future generation of the Club?
Chairman: My advice to the ones who will come after me is that they need to be leaders. That doesn’t mean you come in here and call all the shots. A leader works with people. A leader works alongside team members with expertise that will address the needs of the company. You need to be able to work with people who are leaders in their own right. S/he should be able to encourage and empower those he works with. S/he must have the vision and wisdom to show others the way. S/he should not micromanage people. You need to trust that the people you have around you do their work and not check on them every often. It’s like on the pitch, there are 11 leaders who have to work with each other.
In other words, it about team work – just like on the field, the coach lets players take the lead when they get on the pitch. That is what you need to succeed when in a position of leadership at Kaizer Chiefs.