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We Can’t Lose Tebza And Doc!

Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs legends, Tebogo Moloi and Doctor Khumalo, have been conspicuous with their absence from their respective teams’ set-up for a very long time now. 

These are two former players who are literally and figuratively the faces of the two respective Soweto giants and institutions. They are the embodiment of what the two teams stand for and what they are all about. You just can’t divorce Tebza from Bucs, just like you can’t separate Doc from Amakhosi. Whether you like them or not, the bottom line is that, everywhere they go, people will always see the two teams in them. Just like Saddam Maake and the late Mzion Mofokeng, even if they are doing national team duty, these two will always be associated with the famous Black and White and Gold and Black, period! Having said that, it has been long since the two have been associated with their teams. They’ve both been lost to their teams’ system for far too long. These two great legends have been idolized by the supporters because they understood the importance of keeping the paying supporters happy and giving them a reason to come back to the stadium. They kept them excited whenever they were on the field and served their respective clubs with honour and humility. 

When the two gentlemen were drafted into their respective teams’ senior technical teams, a lot was expected of them. On paper, it seemed that the thinking behind having these two as assistant coaches was to lead to a natural progression that would eventually see them play a bigger role in the future. It is rather unfortunate that they are nowhere near their teams at the moment, at a time when their respective teams need all the help they can get to navigate their way out of the miserable couple of seasons they’ve had, barring Bucs’ MTN8 trophy last season. Is it a coincidence that the last time these two teams dominated South African football, these two legends were part of the respective technical teams, as assistant coaches? It is just a thought! 

To make things worse, both teams have invested a lot in the two legends, especially after hanging up their boots. They’ve sent them on numerous coaching courses across the globe and, once again, this seemed to be the two teams’ indication that there was a vision and plan in place to make the most of the two legends’ affiliation with their respective clubs. There was always a thought or rather imagination of the two legends – when they ventured into coaching – sitting on the opposite benches as head coaches in a Soweto Derby one day. Wouldn’t that be such a monumental occasion? Wouldn’t that add a lot more spark to the game? To everyone’s surprise and dismay, the two legends are not anywhere near their respective teams and all the investment, be it financial or emotional, has – to a certain extent – gone down the drain because the two teams aren’t benefiting anything from their two ‘sons’ and legends now. These are two legends who have seen and done it all in their respective teams. These are role models that most, if not all, of the current players would feel at ease discussing personal or even professional issues and seeking advice on challenges they face on and off the field. That would be easier because the current players of both teams would have grown up watching these two play, and if they are too young to know anything about their playing days, surely they must have heard about the two legends’ history with the two teams.   

Yes, they may have made mistakes in the past, but who hasn’t? Do you disown your own just because they went against your vision? You don’t! These two former players’ fathers played an indescribable role in the two teams, on and off the field. It is by no fluke that their sons are adored by the millions of the teams’ supporters. At one stage, these two living legends were the poster boys of South African football. That’s because of what they stood for and the impact they had on the field of play. The supporters hero-worshipped them, while the opposition feared them. Their respective teams could count on them. They were there to push the two brands and guide the young players into the system. They were there to play a big brother role. They were there to galvanize the supporters and influenced the game in their respective teams’ favour. They stood the test of time. They never wanted to lose to the opposition. The Soweto Derby was more exciting with these two legends involved because they knew and understood what that special game was all about. Every other player wanted to be in their shoes.

A lot was expected from the two legends and no one would have expected to see them away from their respective teams for so long. It is rather unfortunate that we talk about the two teams without mentioning these two great legends and their fathers, Percy “Chippa” Moloi and Eliakim “Pro” Khumalo – both late – can’t be happy to see the massive gap that has grown between their sons and the teams they dedicated their whole lives to. The enormous amount of investment that both teams and their chairmen (Irvin Khoza and Kaizer Motaung) have made in these legends can’t be taken for granted. When the two legends lost their fathers, the two chairmen were there and remained father-figures, guiding and mentoring them. They dedicated a lot of time and effort into the development of the two gentlemen both professionally and personally. Wouldn’t it be great to one day have these two giving back to their teams by overseeing their technical teams? 

South African Football Association also invested a lot in these two gentlemen, but they are still nowhere to be found in the development structures anymore. It is by no coincidence that both Tebza and Doc coached the national U17 team. They are two of the legends who were in the forefront of taking coaching courses post their retirement. They crisscrossed Europe in pursuit of coaching qualifications, with most of those trips sponsored either by SAFA or their respective clubs. They passed and introduced themselves to the coaching world with the hope that one day they would play a significant role in the development of South African football. Unfortunately, not much has happened since then. They are both in SA football wilderness, although Tebza is head coach at Lesotho’s Linare FC. Both Pirates and Chiefs haven’t been firing on all cylinders as they are slowly being eaten away by Mamelodi Sundowns who, incidentally, have several of their legends in their backroom staff. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for the two Soweto giants to reconsider the position of these two legends and rope them back into their system so that they can plough back after all the investment made by their clubs. Surely these two football minds can’t be lost to our football any more than they already have. 

It is not enough to see them doing jobs here and there when we know there’s a bigger role that they should be playing in restoring the pride of these two football institutions. It is time for the two legends to take over from where their fathers left off. We can’t afford to lose these giants because they have a role to play in ensuring that the current players realise how lucky they are to be donning those prestigious jerseys, understand the role and responsibility that comes with signing for these teams as well as understanding the need to always keep the supporters happy. 

Soccer Laduma readers, what do you think?






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