In everything that you do‚ you will be representing me: Kaizer Motaung
Doctor Khumalo's departure from Kaizer Chiefs brings to an end - for now - not just a beautiful relationship between the one-time darling of South Africa's football fans and the country's biggest club‚ but also with its chairman‚ Kaizer Motaung.
Khumalo said it was a meeting he was called to by Motaung last week‚ and the chairman's blessings there and advice that to grow‚ perhaps the once magnificent Chiefs midfielder would have to leave‚ that made up his mind to join Baroka FC as technical director.
It’s not clear if Khumalo asked for more than his redeployment to the development‚ and was turned down.
It's been a PSL off-season of bombshells - Benni McCarthy becoming Cape Town City head coach‚ Steven Pienaar joining Bidvest Wits‚ Quinton Fortune on the verge of becoming Bafana Bafana assistant-coach.
Khumalo's announcement at the offices of his PR company in Bramley‚ Johannesburg on Thursday‚ eclipsed all of those.
"August 15 marked the turning point of my new chapter on this journey of the beautiful game‚" the source of creative midfield genius of Bafana Bafana's 1996 Africa Cup of Nations-winning team said.
"On that day I received a call from the Kaizer Chiefs head office that the chairman‚ Mr Kaizer Motaung‚ wanted to see me.
"After long words of encouragement from the man I knew only as my second father‚ I had no words but could only marvel at the leadership that my chairman was showing to me.
"His last words to me were‚ and I quote: 'It's time for you to grow‚ but remember in everything that you do‚ you will be representing me‚ Kaizer Motaung'."
Khumalo said he heeded Motaung's advice‚ and took the decision to leave what had become too great a comfort zone - especially since being redeployed from Chiefs' bench as an assistant-coach to the development at the start of last season - at Naturena.
"Taking this kind of decision and this kind of step wasn't easy‚" Khumalo said.
"Yes‚ being Chiefs' assistant-coach‚ and redeployed to the development‚ and probably there was a comfort zone‚ and all that.
"(But) Look‚ this was the only team that I grew up playing for or supporting. And I must commend the chairman for allowing me this opportunity.
"And the very same chairman gave me his blessings to say‚ 'Now it's time to grow. And if anything doesn't work out‚ you're still more than welcome to come back home'.
"Who out there can talk to his son or her daughter in that fashion. If there was a misunderstanding or hiccups between me and Kaizer Chiefs‚ I don't think the chairman would have uttered those words.
"Him saying that showed that I still hold that soft part in his heart‚ and that he understands what I have done for the team.
"And for him to be mentioning that my dad was one of the founder members of the Kaizer Chiefs family‚ that touched me.
"It wasn't easy for me to be facing him‚ listening to him telling me all these good things about me growing the brand and all that.
"It's only for me to say that I really appreciate what he has done for me in my career‚ and what he is doing now to show support for what I envisage in terms of growing my brand."
Khumalo was born into a Chiefs family - father Eliakim "Pro" Khumalo‚ murdered in a hijacking in 1996 - was a 1970s star of the club.
As a player with a sublime right-footed pass and silky‚ Zinedine Zidane-like skill‚ on the field and understanding of branding off it‚ Khumalo became one of South African football's first media superstars. His and Chiefs' immense brands benefited from each other.