In all our Golden Oldie interviews, our legends always state that soccer in the Glory Days was all about love of the game and entertaining the supporters. Nothing else mattered as much - not even goals! Why else would the late Kaizer Chiefs manager Ewert Nene scold Bizzah Dlamini and Screamer Tshabalala, and fine them, after a game in which they’d scored two goals apiece? Listen in as Banks and Ace explain why ‘No Monkey Jive - no pay’.
Peter: Banksie, welcome back! Aace! Gents, how are you?
Ace: Alive and kicking.
Banks: Good to be back. Sorry about missing last week.
Peter: No problem. What’s the story this week, guys?
Banks: Peter, you know in the old days Chiefs had to make money, and one of the ways was to play as many games as possible in a week.
Ace: You know, if we were playing a League game on a Sunday in Durban, then we’d play friendlies around the area on the Friday and the Saturday, and sometimes even on the Monday. Then when we got back to Jo’burg we’d probably still go and play a friendly in a township away from Johannesburg as well.
Banks: Ja, for us to play four or five games in a week was nothing unusual - we used to do it all the time. The club got popular that way and made money. We didn’t complain, we just loved playing soccer and we loved Kaizer Chiefs.
Ace: The story this week is about one of three kinds of trips. We’d gone to Durban to play a League game on the Saturday. It was a long weekend. We played a friendly in Durban that Friday night, the League game on the Saturday and then another friendly on the Sunday. Straight after the game, we drove back to Jo’burg.
Banks: And this was a squad of only 16 players, not like today. Also, we were travelling by road in a kombi.
Peter: Incredibly, I am getting exhausted just thinking about it.
Ace: Ha, ha … but wait, we played Witbank Black Aces, which was a very good side, at Orlando Stadium on the Monday afternoon, which was a public holiday.
Banks: And they hammered us 4-1 at home. Everyone was shocked. I mean for us to lose at home was bad enough but to lose 4-1...Ey, man. Also, we never looked for excuses by saying that we were fatigued. Every player just took the defeat like a man.
Ace: We had to go and play them the next week at their home ground in Lynnville, which was a slaughterhouse for away teams in those days. Aces had incredible players and the home supporters were fanatical when it came to supporting the game. Nobody beat Aces at Lynnville. Very few teams even got a point there.
Banks: We hadn’t had a midweek game since that Monday match, so most of the guys had recovered by the weekend from the Aces game. The game captured the imagination of South Africa. Every radio station and newspaper was talking about it - saying that nobody beat Aces at home. Nobody gave us a chance but we knew that no team and I mean no team could beat Kaizer Chiefs two games in a row. We, the players, would not allow it. As captain, I had a big say in the team. This was in 1973/74 I think. Before the game I said to the guys, “Aces didn’t beat us in Orlando, we beat ourselves. Let’s go out there and show them that we can beat them in their own home. Let’s show them the real Kaizer Chiefs. We’ve had a rest - now we are ready for revenge!”
Ace: You know even the late Ewert Nene was quiet in the dressing room. Even he was scared that we’d lose two in a row.
Banks: Just goes to show that he was human, just like the rest of us!
Peter: And how did the game go? I am really getting quite tense thinking about it...did you get beaten again or regain face?
Banks: We beat them 7-1, 7-1 I tell you and we scored all eight goals because their goal was an own goal. We didn’t just beat them - we destroyed them! It was Chiefs at our best. It was beautiful...it was revenge.
Ace: And, believe me, Aces were a great side...make no mistake. We could have beaten the best in the world that day.
Banks: You know I was so happy that I was crying in the dressing room after the game. I mean, to be part of such a performance...
Peter: If only we had TV in those days...
Ace: They would still be showing that performance today, I promise you.
Banks: Now, guys, listen to this. As usual there were no dressing rooms at the stadiums. In fact, even when there were dressing rooms at the stadiums, they were unacceptable.
Ace: And sometimes when we used a dressing room we’d come back and all our stuff would be stolen.
Banks: So, after the game, a big supporter of Chiefs, who lived in Lynnville, invited us to his home for food and drink. There we went still full of dirt and grass because there was no shower. But we were used to such things at the time. As you can imagine, everyone was excited and we were all singing. I showed up at the supporter’s home and said, “Guys, well done!” And the rest of the guys started saying things like, “Ja, Banksie, now we believe you, no one can beat us. Only Chiefs can beat Chiefs. Only we can beat ourselves, nobody else.” While all this was going on, Ewert burst in and interrupted us.
Ace: Ha, ha...wait for this.
Banks: Ja, Ewert said, “Banks said beautiful things. I agree with you, most of you deserve praise today...but not Screamer Tshabalala and Bizzah Dlamini.”
Ace: We all went silent with shock, especially Screamer and Bizzah because they had both scored two goals each.
Banks: Ewert glared at Bizzah and Screamer, who were coincidentally sitting next to each other. He said, “Screamer, don’t you remember how you got your name? Don’t you know that you play for Kaizer Chiefs because you can scream? Why weren’t you screaming today? I brought you to Chiefs to scream when we are up nice and easy. You know you must scream. Now I’m fining you.”
Ace: No one ever said a word when Ewert had the floor, especially when he was upset.
Banks: Then he turned on Bizzah, “Bizzah, come here. I got you all the way from Natal because you can ‘Monkey Jive’.”
Peter: What’s Monkey Jive?
Ace: It was an old dance from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Bizzah used to do it whenever we were up by three goals or more and we were doing ‘Nice Time’ on the pitch. The supporters used to love the ‘Monkey Jive’. In fact, Ewert used to call Bizzah ‘Monkey Jive’.
Banks: So Ewert carried on, “Why did you not ‘Monkey Jive’? No Monkey Jive, no pay. You’re also fined.”
Peter: Ewert was obviously making a point.
Ace: Yes, he was saying that our job was not only to beat the opposition, but also to entertain the supporters.
Banks: Ewert knew that the supporters enjoyed being entertained. They did not just want to see a thrashing. He knew the crowd was waiting for Screamer to run around, waving his hands and screaming at everyone and for Bizzah to do his Monkey Jive. The crowd was waiting for it and Ewert felt that Screamer and Bizzah did not fulfill the wishes of the spectators. He knew that when we did what the spectators wanted, more and more of them would become Kaizer Chiefs supporters.
Ace: Ewert felt that they had forgotten about entertaining. The game was won, as players we’d done our share but he felt that we could have done more. He wanted a show for the supporters.
Banks: Can you imagine a club boss today fining his players for not entertaining the crowd? It would never happen. That’s why Ewert was special, why Chiefs became special and why soccer in those days was special.
Ace: And that’s why the supporters came in big numbers. Because our supporters in South Africa, they want to be entertained. It’s not just goals, they want pleasure.
Peter: And you have to give your customers what they want. Don’t play rock ‘n roll to kwaito fans - it’s simple.
Peter: So what happened next?
Ace: Screamer and Bizzah got fined, but they never forgot to entertain again, ha, ha. And we all learnt our lesson - the supporters’ needs come first.
Peter: Brilliant. Well, guys …
Ace: For sure. Take it easy.
Banks: Just like Sunday morning … I love it.