Nicknames kick a sense of grace into soccer

2010-10-03 12:12

Football and nicknames are synonymous.

They are not limited to ­players, even officials get them.

Some have meanings that you get quickly while ­others defy logic.

Some are terms of endearment while others can be ­regarded as insulting by those they are given to.

So some are mentioned publicly while others are whispered behind the individuals’ backs.

Kaizer Chiefs’ boss Kaizer Motaung was popularly known by the monicker Chincha Guluva – that loosely translates to the one who makes sudden or unexpected changes: ­because he had the ability to fool ­defenders and made it hard for them to know which direction he would go in next, with the ball glued to his well-cultured left foot.

However, those very close to him, including his late mother, called him Mabulala ehleka which literally translates into the smiling assassin.

But this sobriquet was hardly used within earshot, except by his mother.

His other peers call him ­madala (old man).

Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza, baptised The Iron Duke by veteran soccer scribe Sy Lerman, a name that stuck. He is called Squveve or simple Squ by his contemporaries in ­Alexandra Township.

While the origins or meaning of this nickname are cloudy, a simple guess would be that it originates from the Zulu word Isiqumama, a rich person.

Jomo Sono earned very many names as did Shakes Mashaba – but many people don’t know that both share the name Ephraim.

Sono’s list of nicknames ­include, Troublemaker, ­Makhanda, Skop, Chopper, Mjomana, the list goes on.

Former Safa chief executive Raymond Hack was called Loop en Val for his tendency to ­bumble or Majiyane which is township lingo for lawyer or liar while erstwhile vice-president Mubarak Mohamed’s tendency to always talk about a turnaround strategy earned him the name Turnaround.

And now, new chief executive Leslie Sedibe has joined the fray. Following his stunts on TV seemingly giving Benni ­Magwinya McCarthy last minute ­instructions during South ­Africa’s friendly game against Columbia and dancing among the fans at the ­Mbombela ­Stadium during the Bafana ­Bafana vs Niger Afcon qualifier, staffers at Safa now call him Mr Shell Road to Fame.

I would have ended the last sentence with LOL, young people’s lingo for Laugh Out Loud, but scared of tying myself in knots like a fellow Zulu who thought the letters stood for Love You Lots and “rote” a text message to his girlfriend after her sister’s death “sory about your sister LOL”, I’ll stick with the latest which goes tli tli tli.


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