Magic Marc: Batchelor achieved the feat of playing for Soweto's 'Big Three'

15 July 2019 - 22:13
Kaizer Chiefs player Marc Batchelor with Thabang Lebese during a match in April 1998. Batchelor was shot dead on Monday night.
Image: Sowetan / Archive Kaizer Chiefs player Marc Batchelor with Thabang Lebese during a match in April 1998. Batchelor was shot dead on Monday night.

Former striker Marc Batchelor was the rarest of players who wore the jersey for all three prominent Soweto sides - Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows. On top of this, he also featured for Tshwane giants Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United. 

Batchelor was gunned down outside his Johannesburg home on Monday night, killed in a hail of bullets by assailants who rode up on a motorcycle and fired at least seven shots through his window. He died on the scene.

A burly forward, Batchelor played with aggression and heart. Although never what you would call prolific, he commanded the number nine role well, holding up the ball to allow others to play off him.

Born in Johannesburg, he represented Transvaal at age-group level along with the likes of George Dearnaley, Ivan McKinley and former Springbok rugby player James Small, who died last week after a heart attack.

His professional debut came with Dynamos in the old National Soccer League, where he scored four goals in 22 starts to earn a move to BidVest Wits. The most prolific spell of his career arguably came with The Clever Boys, as he netted 25 times in 62 starts, catching the eye of Pirates.

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He moved to the Buccaneers and endeared himself to the fans with a goal in the Soweto Derby against Chiefs, heading home spectacularly from strike-partner Marks Maponyane’s cross.

He scored eight goals in all for Pirates in 17 starts, before moving in to SuperSport United, when they were still known as Pretoria City, in the 1996/97 season. He stayed a little over a season, netting seven goals in 33 games, before Chiefs swooped to sign him in August 1997.

He would spend three seasons at Naturena, in the process scoring against Pirates in the Soweto Derby, but also receiving a red card for elbowing Gerald Raphahlela.

He featured in the 1999 Bob Save Super Bowl final for Chiefs, where they were surprisingly beaten by SuperSport, and a year later played again in the final, this time for Sundowns as they lost to Chiefs.

He moved back to Pretoria for the 1999/2000 season, but it proved an ill-fated move as he was mostly used off the bench and hardly featured. His swansong came with Swallows, where he spent three years up to his retirement at the end of the 2002/03 season.

Again he was sparingly used though, with 10 goals in 24 starts, making just a single substitute appearance in the last of those campaigns.