Kaizer Chiefs recently hosted a very special reunion as some of the club’s iconic former players were brought together some 33 years after their phenomenal 1989 season.
Members of Chiefs’ quadruple winning team of 1989, among them Mark Tovey, William ‘Cool Cat’ Shongwe, Mike ‘Sporo’ Mangena, Gardner Seale, Shane Macgregor, Albert Bwalya and Gary Bailey caught up on Saturday to reminisce and rekindle memories of their proud playing days representing the Gold and Black.
The group gathered at the Nelson Mandela Foundation for an intimate tour hosted by NMF CEO Sello Hatang of former President Nelson Mandela’s private archives and office, before proceeding to Madiba’s Houghton residence the Sanctuary Mandela, which has now been converted into a boutique hotel.
It was an opportunity for the club to bring together its former players and to reunite them over tall tales of their successful playing days.
The chirps between the former teammates flew thick and fast, with former Chiefs goalkeeper Gary Bailey quipping that “Shane Macgregor’s contribution in 1989 was being the most booked player in the team” in reference to his teammate and former Chiefs striker, who scored 19 goals in that campaign.
Bailey went on to add more seriously that “Shane’s contributions were immense. He showed what a strong team we had all around, with four great attackers, a strong midfield with Doctor Khumalo, a solid defence and me and William Shongwe rotating in goal. I think this was the best team in the history of South African club football.”
Chiefs said the reunion was about remaining true to the club’s ‘Love & Peace’ ethos.
Another of the attendees Mike Mangena, who scored four goals in 16 games during that campaign, was complimentary of his former teammates.
“It was an honour to play with these guys. We had a good team and we were very close. Thirty three years is a long time. We need to meet sooner and not wait so long,” said Mangena.
Chiefs defender Rudolph Seale also shared his anecdote.
“When I joined Chiefs I was scared. I was happy at Giant Blackpool, then look at all these names. But these guys made life easy for me and I enjoyed my time at the club,” said Seale.
Zambian born former Chiefs striker Albert Bwalya reflected upon numerous memories and spoke of his love for Chiefs.
“To this day I still feel the love for this team, and they for me. They continue to remember me to this day. From the beginning my story in getting to Chiefs is an interesting one and given the political situation at the time it took me a journey via Lesotho and Eswatini (formerly) Swaziland to get to this great team”.
Former Chiefs defender Mark Tovey, whose brother Neil joined Chiefs in 1990 after he had left in 1989, joked that “most people remember Neil. I was better than him and I think I won more than him,” before adding “it was an honour to have played for this team, and it still is an honour to have represented this club and have won what we did in 1989”.
In conclusion, the Chiefs Marketing Director said “we have a few more of these reunions planned for the coming year. It is crucial for us as a club to connect with our past, as it makes us stronger going forward. We hope to include our current senior team and youth team players in some of these events in the future”.