TIME TO SAY GOOD­BYE...

Kick Off - - Eds Letter - Zola Doda, Act­ing Editor

After seven­teen years of de­liv­er­ing soc­cer at its best, it’s fi­nally time for me to take a bow and say good­bye to my beloved KICK OFF mag­a­zine. It’s re­ally hard to imagine that after I bought my first ever KICK OFF mag­a­zine 20 years and three months ago (the June 1996 edi­tion with Doc­tor Khu­malo on the cover), I would go on to live my dream and work for my favourite soc­cer publi­ca­tion. With no ac­cess to in­ter­net, no DSTV, no mo­bile phones and no tele­vised mid­week matches, KICK OFF mag­a­zine was my only source of in­for­ma­tion and I made sure that I didn’t miss a sin­gle copy. Ev­ery few days be­fore the mag­a­zine hit the shelves, ex­cite­ment used to build up in an­tic­i­pa­tion of what I was go­ing to read in­side the mag­a­zine. And for R4.35, I al­ways got more than what I paid for. And when KICK OFF changed from a monthly to a fort­nightly publi­ca­tion in Septem­ber 1996, it just got bet­ter, even though it also meant I had to save twice the amount of money! But I didn’t care. And in May 1999 – while study­ing Jour­nal­ism – my dream fi­nally came true when I met then editor Richard Maguire who gave me a chance to be an in­tern and later em­ployed me full-time. And what I ex­pe­ri­enced be­tween May 1999 and Au­gust 2016 is some­thing I will cher­ish for a very long time. Thank you to all my col­leagues, for­mer col­leagues and the read­ers who have been sup­port­ing us. But I will not be lost in foot­ball: in Septem­ber I will be join­ing Soc­cer Lad­uma. KICK OFF found­ing editor Mark Gleeson will be mak­ing a re­turn as Act­ing Editor while Nick Said, who worked for the mag­a­zine be­tween 2003 and 2008, will be tak­ing over as an Act­ing Man­ag­ing Editor. Gleeson and Said will cer­tainly bring valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence to the team. The duo – to­gether with our new Dig­i­tal Editor Mark Her­man and the rest of the team – will def­i­nitely take KICK OFF mag­a­zine to the next level. Over the last few years many peo­ple came and left, but KICK OFF still con­tin­ues to grow. With the new foot­ball sea­son upon us, KICK OFF is start­ing the new sea­son with a re­vamped de­sign, and what bet­ter way of do­ing that than mak­ing Mamelodi Sun­downs’ new sign­ing Sibi­siso Vi­lakazi our cover star. Over the last few years, Vi­lakazi has been one South Africa’s best play­ers and has been linked with moves to Europe. But the at­tack­ing mid­fielder fi­nally left Bid­vest Wits for League cham­pi­ons Mamelodi Sun­downs, and tells us his rea­sons for do­ing so as well as de­tails of his fu­ture am­bi­tions. In this edi­tion we also speak to new Kaizer Chiefs sign­ing Ramahlwe Mphahlele fol­low­ing the for­mer Sun­downs cap­tain’s move to Na­turena after his con­tract was not re­newed. Other great fea­tures in­side the mag­a­zine in­clude the low­down on Or­lando Pi­rates’ new sign­ings, the rise of newly pro­moted High­lands Park and new kids on the block, Cape Town City FC.

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