Khumalo headlines former greats at Harry Gwala

2007-12-15 00:00

DOCTOR Khumalo, perhaps the first true superstar of South African soccer, will lead his XI versus a Clive Barker XI at Harry Gwala Stadium tomorrow afternoon in what promises to be an entertaining exhibition match.

Kaizer Chiefs legend Khumalo followed in the footsteps of Orlando Pirates great Jomo Sono as a darling of the fans in South Africa. However, none before Khumalo had ever tapped into the commercial value of being a soccer star in South Africa quite like the glamour midfielder with boyish good looks and mesmerising skills.

The son of Chiefs midfielder of the 1970s, Eliakim “Pro” Khumalo, who was tragically murdered in a hijacking outside his home in Soweto in 1996, Doctor Khumalo never quite had the ability on the field of two of his illustrious predecessors at Chiefs, Nelson “Teenage” Dladla and especially Pule “Ace” Ntsoelengoe. But his playboy lifestyle and star quality made him far more popular and marketable than those two greats ever managed to be.

Tomorrow Khumalo will lead an XI comprising mostly of Gauteng-based former Bafana Bafana stars, many of whom were his team-mates in the South African national side that won the African Nations Cup on home soil under Barker in 1996. Among these will be former Bari, Leeds United, Jomo Cosmos and Mamelodi Sundowns striker Phil “Chippa” Masinga, who scored one goal against Cameroon in the 1996 finals.

Another is former St Gallen, Cagliari and Orlando Pirates left-back David Nyathi, who played his only game in 1996 in the 3-0 opening win against the Indomitable Lions before making way for Lucas Radebe, who had returned from injury. Nyathi went on to be one of the star players of Jomo Sono’s Nations Cup team that reached the final in Burkina Faso in 1998, losing 2-0 against Egypt.

Khumalo’s XI will also include one-time joint coach at Chiefs Donald “Ace” Khuse, the two also having formed a deadly midfield combination at Amakhosi in the early 1990s.

The former Chiefs midfielder’s team will be pitted against that of Bafana mentor Barker, whose XI will be made up mostly of former KwaZulu-Natal greats such as one-time AmaZulu winger Joel “Fire” Faya, currently the assistant to head coach Barker at Usuthu in the PSL. Former Maritzburg United coach Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane, who bossed the midfield for Durban Bush Bucks for 18 years, also headlines Barker’s team.

The exhibition match has been organised with the co-operation of the Msunduzi Council, and tickets are available at the gates (which open at 12.30 pm) at R20. Kickoff is at 3 pm.

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