Obit – Zola Mahobe

2013-12-22 14:00

The late Zola Mahobe changed the complexion of South African football when he took over as the Mamelodi Sundowns boss in 1984.

He transformed Sundowns into one of the biggest clubs in the country and brought professionalism to the team.

Sundowns was an unfashionable club until he came on board. I owe it to Mahobe for giving me a chance and believing in me when local football was dominated by white coaches.

He came looking for me specifically in Dobsonville in 1984, when I was helping Blackpool.

He gave me R50?000 to leave Blackpool – that was a lot of money back then. After sharing his vision with me, I did not hesitate to take the offer to coach Sundowns.

Mahobe’s high-spending approach worked well for the club as the first player we bought was Mike “Sporo” Mangena for a record R50?000 from Durban Bush Bucks.

All he wanted was to see us rivalling Kaizer Chiefs and he was the happiest man when we beat them to lift the Mainstay Cup in 1986.

By the time I left the club, we had won nine trophies.I cannot claim the glory alone as the likes of Trott Moloto, Harold “Jazzyqueen” Legodi, Bashin Mahlangu and Mike Ntombela also contributed to building Sundowns into the powerhouse they are today.

I will also never forget one day in 1985 when Mahobe took the players and their partners to the FA Cup final between Everton and Liverpool.

He also took me to Italy and Brazil to empower me as a coach.

Mahobe was very generous and would always encourage us to tell him whenever we had financial problems, and he would just splash the cash.

We didn’t know where the money was coming from until a later stage, when everything became clear.

May his soul rest in peace.

»?Zola “Mr Cool” Mahobe passed away last Saturday and was laid to rest in a traditional Muslim burial the following day

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