En­ter the first mlungu

Kick Off - - FEATURE -

In 1978, Kaizer Chiefs made his­tory when Stylianou be­came the first white man to play for the club. The fol­low­ing year he was in the team that won the League un­der Tuani, with the two de­vel­op­ing a close re­la­tion­ship over the years. “I was the only white man in the team,” re­calls Stylianou. “I had a won­der­ful re­la­tion­ship with him. He said to me, ‘ When you came to Kaizer Chiefs, you were un­der pres­sure as the first white’, but I told him I wasn’t be­cause the cap­tain made me feel at home. He got on so well with the play­ers and he made me feel good. Tuani made ev­ery­one feel at home – he was good at that. He was tac­ti­cally good. He brought Wal­ter da Silva - who scored 58 goals in one sea­son – along with a tremen­dous amount of tal­ent to South Africa over the years. But his best qual­ity at Kaizer Chiefs was his peo­ple’s skills. He treated ev­ery­body as they were – he didn’t gen­er­alise or make state­ments to the whole team. “He knew ev­ery­one’s strengths and weak­nesses and spoke to them in a cor­rect man­ner, and play­ers re­sponded to that. The play­ers wanted to play for him. In his first sea­son at Kaizer Chiefs, he walked in and they won the dou­ble – how many coaches can they say they won the dou­ble in their first sea­son? “He would talk to Teenage Dladla and say, “You know what, when you were born God gave you this won­der­ful foot­ball tal­ent, don’t for­get to use that tal­ent on the field”. He mo­ti­vated the play­ers and he was a plea­sure to work with. He never pun­ished play­ers at train­ing – he never made them run like English coaches did back then. Ev­ery­thing was done with the ball, skills and drib­bles, ev­ery­thing with the ball. “He was al­ways smil­ing with a won­der­ful sense of hu­mour. Even when he was up­set, he never showed it. He never got per­sonal and never at­tacked a player in front of us. He would pull you aside and say, “Last Satur­day you made this er­ror and that er­ror, and this is where you must im­prove”. He was a won­der­ful coach, he backed the play­ers and not the di­rec­tors of the club. He was to­tally in­volved with the play­ers and not with the di­rec­tors.” Dur­ing the 1999/00 sea­son, Tuani made a re­turn and was in charge of African Wan­der­ers.

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