Defender Buick Makwathi was a nice guy and a good player. There was just one problem … he couldn’t use his left foot. Join Ace and Banks, as they tell us why this caused havoc in a game against Arcadia Shepherds, so much so that Buick became the first Kaizer Chiefs victim of the supporters’ ‘rolling hands’ substitution sign.
Peter: Aaace … Banksie …
Ace: Cool and howdy.
Banks: Alive and kicking
Peter: You guys look on fire.
Peter: And today … what’s happening?
Banks: Ace was talking to me about Buick Makwathi yesterday and that reminded me of a very funny game, although it was not funny at the time, involving Buick.
Ace: Remember Buick was a right back or number two for us at Kaizer Chiefs. We got him from Moroka Swallows where he played either right back or wide on the right of midfield.
Banks: Ha, ha … Ja, Buick was strictly right side. He had no left foot, his left foot was only for standing on. He couldn’t play football with it.
Ace: But he was a very useful player and generally did well for us at Chiefs.
Banks: Ja, but this story is something else, Banks had replaced our regular right back, Terror Mphuthi, and had played a few games and done well. The Kaizer Chiefs supporters were really still getting to know him.
Ace: We were playing Arcadia Shepherds in a cup game. We had drawn the first game 1-1 and, in fact, Banks scored one goal from the penalty spot.
Banks: Ja, truly speaking, I was a regular penalty taker at the time. I never missed. Most of the opposing goalkeepers never even attempted to dive. I used to psyche them out. I’d put the ball down on the spot and say, “Hey, let me take a photo of you before you concede a goal.” And I’d pretend to be taking a photo. Then I’d start my run up and say, “Keeper, now I’m going to shoot, are you ready?” Ha, ha, the next thing the ball would be in the back of the net, ha, ha, seriously.
Peter: You saved them and scored them!
Banks: Actually in this game we’re talking about, Deshi Baktawer was making his debut for Arcadia so I felt a bit bad about teasing a young goalkeeper making his debut.
Ace: Anyway in the first game against Arcadia, our regular right back Terror Mphuthi was terrorised by the Wegerle brothers, Steve and Geoff. They kept switching wings and both of them destroyed Terror. For the replay we put Buick Makwathi in the side and told him to man mark the left winger Geoff Wegerle. He had to stick to him like glue.
Peter: Steve and Geoff were great wingers. Steve had a long career afterwards in America with Tampa Bay Rowdies and later New York Cosmos. He’s still living in the USA and his son was recently on trial at Ajax Cape Town. Some of the Soccer-Laduma readers will recall the younger brother Roy, who played for Cosmos and also Chelsea in England … and for the USA in the World Cup because he married an American woman.
Ace: That’s right.
Banks: So the game begins and Buick is right onto Geoff Wegerle. He doesn’t give Geoff any space at all. In the first half Buick did well. He was marking Geoff tightly and Buick was even able to do some overlapping and get some good crosses in, which was his specialty.
Ace: At halftime we all said well done but we reminded Buick that the job was not finished, it was only half done and that he must stick like glue to Geoff for the whole second half as well. Under no circumstances must he let Geoff out of his sight.
Banks: And that’s when the trouble started. You see in the second half Geoff took his normal position on the left wing and Buick was at right back as usual. As soon as the second half started, Buick went straight to Geoff and man marked him.
Ace: But some time later though Geoff and Steve Wegerle switched wings and Geoff moved to the right wing. Buick, obeying instructions, followed Geoff across the pitch and so now Buick was in a left back position marking Geoff on the right wing as opposed to the left wing in the first half.
Banks: The trouble was that Buick couldn’t use his left foot. The first time he got the ball, he put it on his right foot and instead of overlapping, he turned infield and ran across the field, the Arcadia forwards were right on him when he managed to pass the ball back to me.
Ace: Every time Buick got the ball he would be too scared to use his left foot to pass it down the line, so he’d take the ball on his right foot. By this time, the Arcs forwards would always close him down and Buick kept passing the ball square to Banks.
Banks: It was like he was an opponent. Every time he got the ball he turned towards me and hit the ball my way. Soon the Arcadia forwards were anticipating it. They began to close him down and then they tried to get to the ball that he was passing me, before I got to it. I kept screaming at him, “Buick, hit the ball upfield, stop turning in on your right foot.”
Ace: Buick just said, “I can’t use my left foot!”
Banks: It was like we were playing against 12 men, like Arcadia had two right wingers! The last straw was when Arcadia put both Wegerles on the right side together, that’s our left side. Buick had the two of them to terrorise him. The one time as they dribbled at Buick, he fell and tried to rugby tackle Geoff as he dribbled past, ha, ha.
Ace: It was then that the supporters became very unhappy.
Banks: It was the first time ever I saw the supporters do the ‘rolling hands’ sign for a substitution at a Chiefs game. Buick was the first Kaizer Chiefs victim. It’s funny now but it was as if Buick was a horse with blinkers on. He could only see me and pass the ball my way. Nothing else was on his mind. Man, every time Buick got the ball in that game, I had to be on the alert!
Ace: Shame, man, because eventually Buick had to be substituted. I still see Buick sometimes, he’s still the same jolly guy he was when he was playing. He was a much better player than some people gave him credit for because personally I think he was a very good defender.
Banks: Buick was always cracking jokes, nothing got him down and I’m sure right now as we are talking, Buick is somewhere with a big smile on his face making someone laugh with his wisecracks.
Peter: We’ll have to get Buick’s version of the story, Banksie, maybe he just thought you needed more protection.
Ace: Ja, ha, ha … well, gents, till next week take it easy.
Banks: Just like Sunday morning.