Lucky Stylianou: 'There was not one stitch of racism throughout my time at Kaizer Chiefs'
Lucky Stylianou remembers how‚ as the first white player to join Kaizer Chiefs in 1978‚ he was made to feel welcome at the then eight-year-old emerging Soweto giants.
The defender was speaking at Chiefs’ 50th anniversary celebration at their first training field‚ opposite their first clubhouse‚ in Phefeni‚ Orlando West on Tuesday.
From the outset Chiefs‚ as they broke away under now-chairman Kaizer Motaung from Orlando Pirates as a Kaizer XI in 1969‚ and formed as a club in 1970‚ were star-studded and caught the imagination with beautiful football.
By the time Stylianou joined in 1978 the new South African 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 told TimesLIVE.
"But more important than that was the welcome that 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.
The current @KaizerChiefs senior and junior teams sing for jersey No 24, Cincha Guluva, Amakhosi's chairman, Kaizer Motaung on the club's 50th anniversary, where it all started, on the club's first training ground, opposite the 1st clubhouse at 8414 Sentso St, Phefeni pic.twitter.com/9zmDO117v0— Marc Strydom (@marc_strydom) January 7, 2020
"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 totally amazing to play with Ace [Ntsoelengoe]‚ Teenage [Dladla] and Shaka [Ngcobo].
“These are players who‚ if they were around today‚ would be playing in Europe. So it was an honour and a privilege.
“And what I like about Kaizer Chiefs was the family feeling. You were never an outsider and everybody was most welcome there.
“From the executive head Mr Motaung‚ he brought it right through down to the players and the backroom staff and kit managers. So it’s not just a wonderful club‚ it’s outstanding people who ran the club.”
Chiefs have given free entrance (two each‚ first come‚ first serve at Computicket) for their 7.30pm home game against Highlands Park at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.