Listing all of the greatest Kaizer Chiefs players in history would be impossible but we’re going to try and include a few recent favourites.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: THE GREATEST KAIZER CHIEFS PLAYERS OF THE MODERN ERA
You cannot argue with Bernard Parker’s goal stats as a Kaizer Chiefs player. After all, it is goals that win games, and Parker did plenty of that for the Glamour Boys. Now with TS Galaxy, the 36-year-old won four major honours with Amakhosi, including two DStv Premiership titles. He falls into the “underrated” bracket for sure.
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Speaking of goals, who will ever forget the goal-scoring exploits of Zambian marksman Collins Mbesuma? His antics in the penalty area earned him a move to Portsmouth in 2005. All-in-all, Mbesuma bagged 55 goals in 173 DStv Premiership clashes. 25 goals in the 2004-05 season remains an all-time record that is unlikely to be touched. And it belongs to Mbesuma.
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JABU MAHLANGU (PULE)
An entertainer in the true sense of the word, Jabu Mahlangu took our collective breath away with quintessentially South African flair. No list of modern Chiefs greats is complete without mentioning this man. What a player!
Known for his legendary distribution of the football, Itu Khune is a modern-day great in a goalkeeping context. Seven major honours with Chiefs and 91 caps for Bafana Bafana undoubtedly qualify Khune as a South African football legend. Although distribution is the trait that has made him famous around the world, don’t forget his amazing reflexes and loyalty. A true one-club man.
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ERIC ‘TOWER’ MATHOHO
Eric Mathoho was a key pillar in Amakhosi’s glorious DStv Premiership and MTN8 double in 2014/15, making 25 PSL appearances in that campaign. Overall, the big man notched 26 goals in 259 appearances in the famous black and gold jersey. That’s quite a tally for a central defender, with those strikes coming once every 10 games on average. Sergio Ramos would be proud.
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“16 Valve” was an African champion with Bafana Bafana in 1996 and he regularly dazzled audiences in a Kaizer Chiefs jersey who’s fondly remembered for his wonderful vision and passing ability. To this day, his tally of 397 starts for Amakhosi is an all-time record. How much more legendary does it get than that?
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John “Shoes” Mosheou was the ultimate playmaker, combining silky skills and his ability to dictate play from the heart of midfield. Shoes was an AFCON winner in 1996 and then represented South Africa at France 1998. Are there any modern equivalents of his skill set? What a gifted footballer. Pure silk and skill.
Two stints with Chiefs, alongside a spell with Turkish giants Fenerbahçe, make Shoes a legit cult figure of football.
An assist machine from the left side of midfield, Shabba was equally capable of tucking into more central areas and holding onto the ball to slow the play down. A seriously underrated footballer in large parts of South Africa, but Chiefs fans knew all about his gifts. When Shabba scored THAT goal against Mexico in 2010, the world knew his name.
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Ace Ntsoelengoe is a man who scored 19 Soweto Derby goals and was admired for his sublime technical ability and footwork, playing football with a smile on his face and with the swag of a Brazilian. Ever the entertainer, Ace was voted as the club’s greatest ever player in 2010. Next time we’ll discuss him and a few of the other greats from yesteryear.
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** DISCLAIMER: The writer of this article may not be old enough to remember some of the players that shone in the 90s.
Hit up James Freemantle for more insights, analysis and love for the beautiful game.