The legendary Andries “Six Mabone” Maseko, who sadly passed away on 26 October 2013, had dynamite in both his legs and scored goals for fun.
Forget the seven from Hlompho Kekana in their demolition of Powerlines, one of the many highlights of Maseko’s career saw him go one better by smashing in eight goals in a 13-1 victory for the Moroka Swallows against Umlazi Citizens at the Sinaba Stadium in 1976.
He was loved by ‘Dube Butcher Birds’ fans and during that era, the great Swallows players were known as the ‘Massacres’ because almost all their surnames started with the letter ‘M’. The side was fiery with players like Frederick ‘Congo’ Malebane, Joel ‘Ace’ Mnini, Trott ‘Trapper’ Moloto, Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba, Jimmy ‘Music Man’ Mahlangu and Daniel ‘Vader’ Mophosho to mention a few.
Those old enough to have watched Maseko at his peak will certainly remember his exploits in the epic, and now defunct, 1980 Mainstay Cup competition. Back then, the game was more of an art and a bit slower. Even the Vuvuzela wasn’t part of the football family yet.
At that time, nobody thought about seeing a stadium as fancy or big as the current Orlando Stadium. But although it was a ramshackle, basic stadium with wooden railway sleepers, cement and steel blocks for seats, it wasn’t seen as that. Instead it was an arena for the stars - wizards of the game like Maseko, who definitely produced magical moments.
Maseko also had a brilliant stint with Washington Diplomats in North America where he played in the same league as the genius Dutchman Johan Cruyff, and became one of the few black South African players in America. He also played in the USA for Washington Diplomats, San Jose Earthquakes and Phoenix Infernos.
The legend was capped for the South African multiracial XI that beat Rhodesia 7-0 at the Rand Stadium in 1977, alongside legends such as Rodney Bush, Lawrence Chelin, Stuart Lilley, Zacharia ‘Computer’ Lamola, the late Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe, Jan ‘Malombo’ Lechaba, Phil ‘Shakes’ Ntsoseng and Joseph ‘Banks’ Setlhodi.
Those who grew up with and played against or alongside him have nothing but praise for him, stressing that the efforts and patriotism of players like him played a big role in the transformation of South African football.
Former Swallows teammate, Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba, said,"He was a stalwart, a gentleman of the game, who served football with distinction. He earned his stripes as a player as he was dedicated and committed to the game. May his soul rest in peace."
Banks Setlhodi, a former Kaizer Chiefs and Springbok goalkeeper, also speaks highly of the legend, saying that he was just on another level.
"I knew Andries way before he joined Moroka Swallows. As a footballer, we all know that he was one of the best players but, on a personal level, he was very humble and down-to-earth. The late Ace Ntsoelengoe and I stayed with him in Randfontein while he was working for a cigarette company. We just connected with him on another level, even away from football. He was one of the greatest guys I have ever come across. A visionary who had some brilliant ideas about the game. During our Springboks days, whenever in camp, they used to spend a lot of time in my room. I remember how myself, him, Jomo (Sono), Ace and Lawrence Chelin planned the downfall of Argentina in my room a night before our match. We went on to execute our plan and hammered Argentina 7-0! The four of them created and scored all the goals in that game and the great Andries ‘Six Mabone’ Maseko was just on another level."
Soccer Laduma and Hansa salute a legend of South African football who left thousands with priceless memories and inspired the masses with his ability.