A letter of appeal to Kaizer Motaung
Dikgomo Sebata! Dikgomo Hlalele. Namane e tshehla. Motho oa lebese la kgomo. Motaung oa ha Machela! Oa Nthethe’a Morapeli! Oa Tebejane’a Matlatsa, tlatsa Tebejane!
Petu la lekana molala.
Batho ba ha Kome-Kome, Batho ha ba kometsoe, baa bolaoa. Batho ba Mponye oa Lehoroana, Batho ba ma-Lehahanyana-kopela! I greet you in this way that your clan, the Bataung, venerate the lion (tau), king of the jungle, so as to appeal to your heart as a fellow African.
You and I have known each other for more than two decades now.
I hold you in very high regard because of what you have done since leaving Orlando Pirates in 1970 and forming what was first known as Kaizer’s XI, which morphed into what is known as Kaizer Chiefs today.
I guess you still have fond memories of the day when your newly formed club beat Pirates and Moroka Swallows on the same day at South Africa’s then football mecca, Orlando Stadium.
It marked one of those days that introduced Amakhosi not only as the new kid on the block, but also as a new giant.
It was results like these, and the many that followed, that led to football lovers referring to your club as “Amakhosi Omhlaba”, which, loosely translated, means “kings of the world”.
If one were to list the glorious moments and all the conquests that were to follow in the next decades, it would fill volumes and volumes.
However, I think even you will admit that things are not so rosy at your club’s Naturena headquarters, known as Taung Village.
There was a huge outcry at the end of last season when your Phefeni Glamour Boys finished their third season without claiming any silverware.
This was a first in the club’s 47year history.
And, by the looks of things – if the results so far this season are anything to go by – the same might happen this time around as well.
By now, it should be obvious that the problem is not the coaches. It seems to go much deeper than that.
As I recently pointed out, the fact that Bafana Bafana have gone through 22 coaches with very little success is proof that the problem does not lie with the mentors.
The same is happening at Naturena. It cannot be that most of the coaches you have appointed lately have all been bad. The decision on Friday to fire Italian coach Giovanni Solinas and his assistant Patrick Mabedi is just a quick fix solution that cannot solve the bigger problem.
The reason for my appeal is that Chiefs, just like Pirates, is not just a football club. It is much, much more than that.
It is one of the leading brands in South Africa.
However, should things continue as they are, this brand that you built over so many years and made so many sacrifices for and that, at one stage, you even bonded your house as surety for, will be destroyed.
Having come from Pirates, you know how much is at stake whenever the two clubs meet.
It has broken my heart over these past few years to see Chiefs supporters troop out of the stadium with drooping shoulders and sad faces after yet another defeat in the Soweto derby. Some have even forgotten when it was that they last tasted victory over their nemesis.
But that is not my point. Chiefs have had many lows in the past, and every time that has happened, you have managed to lift them up to where they belong.
Even now that you are a senior citizen of South African football, after the recent celebration of your 75th birthday, I feel you can still do that.
You have not been known as a trigger-happy football boss.
I believe that, deep down in your heart, you know there is a problem at Chiefs. You also know the solution.
Just show the same bravery you did when you led the breakaway from the SA National Football Association and the National Professional Soccer League to form the National Soccer League in 1985.
Someone recently commented that if the status quo persists, Chiefs might find themselves going the way of Moroka Swallows. Perish the thought!
Chiefs’ myriad supporters deserve better.