That is the word Kaizer Motaung cannot use often enough as he tries to find the words and the emotions to capture his feelings as Kaizer Chiefs Football Club turns 50 years old today.
“Obviously one feels a lot of nostalgia as you look back at where you come from and at the journey that has unfolded over so many years. There are many stories to tell and I am very grateful that I am alive, and that God spared me, to see our dream come true. When we started, a lot of people thought this is one of those passing things that will fall by the wayside. There were critics and sceptics who did not believe we were serious. When I look back, I feel very proud and fulfilled. At least we did not disappoint so many people and so many families who believed in us and shared our dreams. We’ve made so many people happy, and that is what is so important. The path we took was always meant to ensure we take people along the way with us,” says the Kaizer Chiefs Chairman.
He lent his name and energy to a brand that has illuminated South African football over the last five decades to become one of Africa’s biggest clubs and one of the biggest in the world.
But Motaung is quick to acknowledge that the building of this proud African legacy was a collective effort.
“The ambition was to create something we could be proud of. We strove to be recognized as an institution of excellence and I think we have achieved that. But never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be where we are today, a powerful brand loved and supported by millions of people in every corner of the country and across the African continent. Our success has come especially from our supporters, who believed in us, had faith in us and committed themselves to the brand. Our supporters are very close to us, it is what has made a big difference in setting us apart from the rest of the teams in the country. The support we garnered from them gave us the strength and the courage to know that what we sought to achieve was indeed achievable,” says Motaung.
He could not sit at the Kaizer Chiefs Village, however, and not acknowledge the role of the club’s ‘founding fathers’, who committed to the journey the club embarked on over 50 years ago and who persevered against great odds.
“It is important to recognize the role they played. We hope that those who take the baton from us will be able to continue the journey in the same manner we did and even better than we have done. I want to thank all those who were part of the journey, especially the players who have represented Kaizer Chiefs on the field of play, who helped to create this history. Those players who started with us, those who joined and those who continue the journey, who have the responsibility to ensure that as much as they were standing on the shoulders of the giants who went before them, that those playing today will also be seen in the same light as those who will follow them,” comments Motaung.
For all the sensational footballers who have donned the Gold and Black jersey over the years, Motaung cannot bring himself to favour any of them above the others.
“I can’t choose a favourite player and I don’t want to be seen to be taking sides about who were the best Kaizer Chiefs players. All the players who have played for Kaizer Chiefs have played a part in our success and they are all very important to me. It’s like your children, you know you have children, but you can’t be seen to be favouring one over the others. You have to love them all equally, that’s how I feel about our players,” explains Motaung.
He is proud that the club has contributed far beyond just the football pitch in South African society.
“The kind of organisation we have put together and the business we are is one that gives opportunities and empowers other people. We’ve contributed towards the development of communities at large and through our social corporate responsibility projects we have touched many peoples’ lives. On the political front, we played a significant role in terms of withstanding and battling against apartheid and supporting all those in the forefront of the struggle to pursue their agenda of freeing our country from the stranglehold of apartheid. Football played a significant role in our country’s emancipation and we at Kaizer Chiefs are proud to have contributed strongly in the political arena,” says Motaung.
As he spoke, the Gauteng summer rains lashed the expansive grounds of the Kaizer Chiefs Village in Naturena.
“It is a good omen for us,” reacts Motaung, adding, “in our culture, if it rains it shows a lot of promise going forward”.
SOURCED FROM THE KAIZER CHIEFS WEBSITE.