For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved football. Growing up in Lesotho, my father would take me to the occasional games. He bought our first television when I was 11 but they didn’t always show the games that I wanted to watch. I am not that old, but I spent many an afternoon or evening hunched up next to a radio listening to the games.
The teams I support have been influenced by my father, in some instances. These teams, in leagues across the world, have brought me much pain and joy and probably will do so for many years to come. I have always been a Kaizer Chiefs fan and some of my favourite footballers in South Africa have always been Amakhosi players, like Nelson ‘Teenage’ Dladla, Lucas Radebe, Donald ‘Ace’ Khuse, Fani Madida, Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe, Howard Freese, Neil Tovey, John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu and Thabo Mooki. I wasn’t able to always see games on telly but, somehow, I found a way to support my team.
And now it is 40 years on. I am not that much younger than Kaizer Chiefs yet its accomplishments are many – and there will be many more. In recent years, things haven’t been as rosy as I could hope. The frustration has been one that can often be tasted but allegiance will never change. Football is a marathon. Success requires commitment, passion and development. We were languishing near the foot of the table not too long ago, written off by many, and now we are near the top.
With the new special edition team kit celebrating 40 years, I, for one, hope that today’s players will find a way to tap into the spirit of all the legends who have come before them and truly realise their potential.