Unplugged by BBK

Kaizer Chiefs anniversary will be a day to recall 'The Lip and Ace'

Whereas in the past Chiefs have had a conveyor belt that churned out promising prospects for the future, the club is swimming in the shallow end of the talent pool nowadays

06 January 2019 - 00:00 By BARENG BATHO-KORTJAAS


On January 7 - yes, tomorrow - Kaizer Chiefs will celebrate their 49th anniversary.
Part of that legacy was built on the bravery of Kaizer Motaung et al to build what was to become a phenomenon on the South African soccer scene.
Part of that legacy was nourished by the blood of the towel-waving Ewert "The Lip" Nene, who lost his life in the early building blocks of a dynasty that rose to assume its place in local football royalty.
Part of that legacy was given legs of popularity by the spirited sprinting of Louis "Sprinter" Tshakoane and the twalaza jive of Putco Mafani, back in the day when PR officers were part and parcel of the people.
Nene, a Chiefs co-founder and a consummate conversationalist, had the gift of the gab that was the stuff of legend, such that he could talk a molehill into a mountain. History documents that he met his death in Springs in 1978, where he had gone to recruit one of the hottest young players of that era, Nelson Teenage Dladla, who was not the only extraordinary recruit by Nene.
"In one afternoon, with Orlando Pirates hot on the heels of a youngster by the name of Patrick Ntsoelengoe, Ewert was always a step ahead by driving to Randfontein and convinced the youngster to join Chiefs.
"He had him wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of a car (a white Impala - a big American left-handed car) so no one could identify the youngster.
"It is now history that Ace Ntsoelengoe went on to become one of the best players to have graced SA," recalled Chiefs chair Kaizer Motaung in 2011 when paying tribute to the flamboyant figure.
It would seem the eye to spot that exceptional young talent and recruit has become blind.
Whereas in the past Chiefs have had a conveyor belt that churned out promising prospects for the future, the club is swimming in the shallow end of the talent pool nowadays.
The last of the lot, a real deal who sent shivers down the spines of opposition players, was Jabu Pule Mahlangu. Oh, Shuffle, Shuffle, Shuffle. Damn, what a player. Phew!
The other Pule, Hendrick Ekstein, hasn't really hit the heights. He has threatened that his best is yet to come. But, at 28, time is ticking. Fast.
Perhaps it is in that context that a wave of Chiefs fans have welcomed news of Nkosingiphile "Mshini" Ngcobo being re-promoted to the first team by coach Ernst Middendorp.
Chiefs could do with the injection of a sparkling player who might initiate a rejuvenation and help maintain the momentum that Middendorp has built since replacing that joker in a pack, Giovanni "Futubolo" Solinas. Jerrrr, that man was the star of his own Italian Joke Movie at Naturena.
Solinas sent Ngcobo, who was promoted by Steve Komphela, back to the youth ranks.
How Motaung was duped into hiring Solinas surely ranks as the latest entry in the wonders of the world. But I digress.
Ngcobo is an integral part of the under-20 national side and is highly admired for his impressive array of silky skills.
Several members of the Chiefs midfield have a long-distance relationship with the term, spring chicken, hence the excitement generated by the re-promotion of Ngcobo.
His introduction into the first team will be gradual but play he must.
Cowardly coaches bench young players by hiding behind the tag of inexperience, as if there is experience to be gained by having them decorate the bench.
Brave coaches play them. And if they do well enough they could be spotted by those who have eyes everywhere - Lyle Foster, 18, has been snapped by Ligue 1 side AS Monaco from Orlando Pirates on a four-and-a-half-year deal. One hopes Middendorp's move is not just an act to ameliorate the fans. Happy anniversary Khosi. Complications of the new revolution, dear reader.

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