Kaizer Chiefs’ Amakhosi

Kaizer Chiefs is easily the most popular sports team in South Africa and Amakhosi supporters regularly outnumber their opponents’ fans, even away from home.  Chiefs was formed on 7 January 1970 shortly after the return of founder, Kaizer Motaung from the United States of America where he played in the North American Soccer League for Atlanta Chiefs.  The club’s headquarters are in Naturena, six kilometres south of Johannesburg.

The Phefeni Glamour Boys are even well-supported beyond South Africa’s borders and have a significant fan base in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.  The Soweto club contests a bitter rivalry with Orlando Pirates, although since the 2001 Ellis Park stadium disaster where 43 fans lost their lives, efforts have been made by both sides to cool the rivalry down to the point where the two sets of supporters actually sit among one another at the Soweto Derby.  That said a defeat in that match will still mean endless embarrassment at work, school and just about everywhere else for fans on the wrong end of the result.

Amakhosi have won two Absa Premiership titles in the last three seasons, after an eight-year league drought.  In between though Chiefs have helped themselves to regular silverware in the various cup competitions.  All the country’s cup competitions are named for their sponsors but in its various guises the Glamour Boys have lifted the MTN 8 15 times, the Telkom Knockout on 13 occasions, 13 Nedbank Cup titles, and 11 Charity Spectacular victories.

Last season Kaizer Chiefs won the league by 12 points over runners-up Mamelodi Sundowns.  After coach Stuart Baxter stepped down, the club called on former skipper Steve Komphela to take over the reins.  The likes of former captain Tefu Mashamaite has left the team but like former leader and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, could return to Naturena.  Khune struggled to secure a deal elsewhere and just last week agreed terms to return to Chiefs.

Mashamaite was set for a move to Major League Soccer but the deal also fell threw.  At the time of writing* Mandla Masango was in advanced talks with the Glamour Boys to return ala Khune and Mashamaite may well find himself in a similar position.  However the captain’s armband has already been reserved for Siphiwe Tshabalala so none of the former skippers will win back that particular honour.

Chiefs start the league season with a trip to Chippa United on National Women’s Day.

*31 July 2015

Photo credit: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix